Thursday, August 04, 2005

The Importance of Faith

In discussing the fallout in the mainstream media following President Bush's comments on teaching intelligent design alongside evolution (see "President Bush on Teaching Intelligent Design"), Chuck Colson, in his BreakPoint commentary today, puts into perspective why having faith is important for Christians in this or any other Biblical debate: . . .

I had studied biblical worldview for years and believed that I could prove beyond a doubt that the biblical worldview is the only one that is rational, the only one that conforms to the truth of the way the world is made. But that led to a spiritual crisis of sorts, when one morning in my quiet time I realized that while I could prove all of this, I could not prove who God was. I began to worry: When this life was over, would I really meet Him?

Some weeks later, as I describe in my new book
The Good Life, it hit me that if I could prove God, I could not know Him. The reason is that, just as He tells us, He wants us to come like little children with faith. If you could resolve all intellectual doubts, there would be no need for faith. You would then know God the same way that you know the tree in the garden outside your home. You would look at it, know it is there, and that's it, as Thomas Aquinas once said.

Faith is necessary because without it you cannot love God. So . . . if you could prove God, you couldn't love Him, which is His whole purpose in creating you.

10 Comments:

At Thursday, August 04, 2005 9:59:00 PM, Blogger The Chairman said...

Amen Brother, Amen

 
At Friday, August 05, 2005 12:32:00 AM, Blogger Richard Wolfe said...

I believe in God. I believe that God created the universe. I believe the universe is at least ten billion years old. I believe the Earth is about four billion years old. I believe that the first living things (on our planet) date from about 500 million years ago. (I do not have an explanation for the appearance of life on Earth in that distant age, and so I am willing to credit it as a creation of God.) I believe that the first people evolved about one million years ago. All of this I believe and still believe in God. Is this the same God as the one that you believe in?

 
At Friday, August 05, 2005 6:45:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here are a dozen natural phenomena
which conflict with the evolutionary
idea that the universe is
billions of years old. The numbers I list below in bold print (often millions of years)are maximum possible ages set by each
process, not the actual ages. The numbers in italics are the ages required by evolutionarytheory for each item. The point is that
the maximum possible ages are alwaysmuch less than the required evolutionary ages, while the biblical age (6,000 to 10,000
years) always fits comfortably within the maximum possible ages. Thus the following items are evidence against the evolutionary
time scale and for the biblical time scale.

Much more young-world evidence exists, but I have chosen
these items for brevity and simplicity. Some of the items on this list can be reconciled with an old universe only by making a series of improbable and unproven assumptions; others can fit in only
with a young universe. The list starts with distant astronomic
phenomena and works its way down to earth, ending with everyday
facts.

1. Galaxies wind themselves up too fast
The stars of our own galaxy, the Milky Way, rotate about the
galactic center with different speeds, the inner ones rotating faster than the outer ones. The observed rotation speeds are so fast that if our galaxy were more than a few hundred million years old, it would be a featureless disc of stars instead of its present spiral shape.1

Yet our galaxy is supposed to be at least 10 billion years old.
Evolutionists call this “the winding-up dilemma,” which they have known about for fifty years. They have devised many theories to
try to explain it, each one failing after a brief period of popularity.The same “winding-up” dilemma also applies to other galaxies.

For the last few decades the favored attempt to resolve the
dilemma has been a complex theory called “density waves.”1 The
theory has conceptual problems, has to be arbitrarily and very
finely tuned, and lately has been called into serious question by
the Hubble Space Telescope's discovery of very detailed spiral
structure in the central hub of the “Whirlpool” galaxy, M51.2

2. Comets disintegrate too
quickly
According to evolutionary theory, comets are supposed to be the same age as the solar system, about 5 billion years. Yet each time a comet orbits close to the sun, it loses so much of its material that it could not survive much longer than about 100,000 years. Many comets have typical ages of
10,000 years.3

Evolutionists explain this discrepancy by assuming that (a) comets come from an unobserved spherical “Oort cloud” well
beyond the orbit of Pluto, (b) improbable gravitational interactions with infrequently
passing stars often knock comets into the solar system, and (c)
other improbable interactions with planets slow down the incoming
comets often enough to account for the hundreds of comets observed.4 So far, none of these assumptions has been substantiated either by observations or realistic calculations.

Lately, there has been much talk of the “Kuiper Belt,” a disc
of supposed comet sources lying in the plane of the solar system
just outside the orbit of Pluto. Even if some bodies of ice exist
in that location, they would not really solve the evolutionists’
problem, since according to evolutionary theory the Kuiper Belt
would quickly become exhausted if there were no Oort cloud to supply it.

3. Not enough mud on the sea floor
Each year, water and winds erode about 25 billion tons of dirt and
rock from the continents and deposit it in the ocean.5 This material accumulates as loose sediment (i.e., mud) on the hard basaltic (lava-formed) rock of the ocean floor. The average depth of all the mud in the whole ocean, including the continental shelves, isEvidence for a Young World continued from page 1 less than 400 meters.6

The main way known to remove the mud from the ocean floor is by plate tectonic subduction. That is, sea floor slides slowly
(a few cm/year) beneath the continents, taking some sediment
with it. According to secular scientific literature, that process
presently removes only 1 billion tons per year.6 As far as anyone
knows, the other 24 billion tons per year simply accumulate. At
that rate, erosion would deposit the present amount of sediment
in less than 12 million years.

Yet according to evolutionary theory, erosion and plate subduction have been going on as long as the oceans have existed,
an alleged 3 billion years. If that were so, the rates above imply
that the oceans would be massively choked with mud dozens of
kilometers deep. An alternative (creationist) explanation is that
erosion from the waters of the Genesis flood running off the
continents deposited the present amount of mud within a short
time about 5000 years ago.

4. Not enough sodium in the sea
Every year, rivers7 and other sources9 dump over 450 million tons
of sodium into the ocean. Only 27% of this sodium manages to get back out of the sea each year.8,9 As far as anyone knows, the
remainder simply accumulates in the ocean. If the sea had no
sodium to start with, it would have accumulated its present amount
in less than 42 million years at today's input and output rates.9
This is much less than the evolutionary age of the ocean, 3 billion years. The usual reply to this discrepancy is that past sodium inputs must have been less and outputs greater. However, calculations which are as generous as possible to evolutionary scenarios still give a maximum age of only 62 million years.9
Calculations10 for many other sea water elements give much
younger ages for the ocean.

5. The earth’s magnetic field is decaying too fast
The total energy stored in the earth’s magnetic field has steadily
decreased by a factor of 2.7 over the past 1000 years.11 Evolutionary
theories explaining this rapid decrease, as well as how the
earth could have maintained its magnetic field for billions of years, are very complex and inadequate.

A much better creationist theory exists. It is straightforward,
based on sound physics, and explains many features of the field:
its creation, rapid reversals during the Genesis flood, surface
intensity decreases and increases until the time of Christ, and a
steady decay since then.12 This theory matches paleomagnetic,
historic, and present data.13 The main result is that the field's
total energy (not surface intensity) has always decayed at least as fast as now. At that rate the field could not be more than 10,000 years old.14

6. Many strata are too tightly bent
In many mountainous areas, strata thousands of feet thick are bent
and folded into hairpin shapes. The conventional geologic time
scale says these formations were deeply buried and solidified for
hundreds of millions of years before they were bent. Yet the
folding occurred without cracking, with radii so small that the
entire formation had to be still wet and unsolidified when the
bending occurred. This implies that the folding occurred less
than thousands of years after deposition.15

7. Injected sandstone shortens geologic“ages”
Strong geologic evidence16 exists that the Cambrian Sawatch
sandstone - formed an alleged 500 million years ago - of the Ute
Pass fault west of Colorado Springs was still unsolidified when
it was extruded up to the surface during the uplift of the Rocky
Mountains, allegedly 70 million years ago. It is very unlikely
that the sandstone would not solidify during the supposed 430
million years it was underground. Instead, it is likely that the two
geologic events were less than hundreds of years apart, thus
greatly shortening the geologic time scale.

8. Fossil radioactivity shortens geologic “ages” to a few years
Radiohalos are rings of color formed around microscopic bits of
radioactive minerals in rock crystals. They are fossil evidence of radioactive decay.17 “Squashed” Polonium-210 radiohalos indicate
that Jurassic, Triassic, and Eocene formations in the Colorado
plateau were deposited within months of one another, not hundreds
of millions of years apart as required by the conventional
time scale.18 “Orphan” Polonium-218 radiohalos, having no
evidence of their mother elements, imply either instant creation
or drastic changes in radioactivity decay rates.19,20

9. Helium in the wrong places
All naturally-occurring families of radioactive elements generate
helium as they decay. If such decay took place for billions of
years, as alleged by evolutionists, much helium should have found its way into the earth's atmosphere. The rate of loss of helium from the atmosphere into space is calculable and small. Taking that loss into account, the atmosphere today has only 0.05% of the amount of helium it would have accumulated in 5 billion years.21 This means the atmosphere is much younger than the
alleged evolutionary age.

A study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research shows that helium produced by radioactive decay in deep, hot rocks has not had time to escape. Though the rocks are supposed to be over one billion years old, their large helium retention suggests an age of only thousands of years.22

10. Not enough stone age skeletons
Evolutionary anthropologists say that the stone age lasted for at
least 100,000 years, during which time the world population of
Neanderthal and Cro-magnon men was roughly constant, between
1 and 10 million. All that time they were burying their dead with
artifacts.23 By this scenario, they would have buried at least 4
billion bodies.24 If the evolutionary time scale is correct, and if buried bones are able to last for much longer than 100,000 years (as is the case with “70 million-year-old” dinosaurs), then many of the supposed 4 billion stone age skeletons should still be around
(and certainly the buried artifacts). Yet only a few thousand have been found. This implies that the stone age was much shorter than evolutionists think, a few hundred years in many areas.

11. Agriculture is too recent
The usual evolutionary picture has men existing as hunters and
gatherers for 100,000 years during the stone age before discovering
agriculture less than 10,000 years ago.23 Yet the archaeological
evidence shows that stone age men were as intelligent as we are. It is very improbable that none of the alleged 4 billion people mentioned in item 10 should discover that plants grow
from seeds. It is more likely that men were without agriculture
less than a few hundred years after the flood, if at all.24

12. History is too short
According to evolutionists, stone age man existed for 100,000
years before beginning to make written records about 4000 to
5000 years ago. Prehistoric man built megalithic monuments,
made beautiful cave paintings, and kept records of lunar phases.25
Why would he wait a thousand centuries before using the same
skills to record history? The biblical time scale is much more
likely.24

References
1. Scheffler, H. and H. Elsasser, Physics of the Galaxy and Interstellar Matter,
Springer-Verlag (1987) Berlin, pp. 352-353, 401-413.
2. D. Zaritsky et al., Nature, July 22, 1993. Sky & Telescope, December 1993,
p. 10.
3. Steidl, P. F., “Planets, comets, and asteroids,” in Design and Origins in Astronomy,
G. Mulfinger, ed., Creation Research Society Books (1983), pp.
73-106.
4. Whipple, F. L., “Background of modern comet theory,” Nature 263 (2 Sept
1976) 15.
5. Gordeyev, V. V. et al., “The average chemical composition of suspensions in
the world’s rivers and the supply of sediments to the ocean by streams,”
Dockl. Akad. Nauk. SSSR 238 (1980) 150.
6. Hay, W. W., et al., “Mass/age distribution and composition of sediments on
the ocean floor and the global rate of subduction,” Journal of Geophysical
Research, 93, No B12 (10 December 1988) 14,933-14,940.
7. Maybeck, M., “Concentrations des eaux fluviales en elements majeurs et apports
en solution aux oceans,” Rev. de Geol. Dyn. Geogr. Phys. 21 (1979)
215.
8. Sayles, F. L. and P. C. Mangelsdorf, “Cation-exchange characteristics of
Amazon River suspended sediment and its reaction with seawater,” Geochimica
et Cosmochimica Acta 41 (1979) 767.
9. Austin, S. A. and D. R. Humphreys, “The sea’s missing salt: a dilemma for
evolutionists,” in Proc. 2nd Internat. Conf. on Creationism, Vol. II, Creation
Science Fellowship (1991).
10. Austin, S. A., “Evolution: the oceans say no!” ICR Impact No. 8 (Oct.
1973) Institute for Creation Research.
11. Merrill, R. T. and M. W. McElhinney, The Earth’s Magnetic Field, Academic
Press (1983) London, pp. 101-106.
12. Humphreys, D. R., “Reversals of the earth’s magnetic field during the Genesis
flood,” in Proc. 1st Internat. Conf. on Creationism, Vol. II, Creation
Science Fellowship (1987), pp. 113-126.
13. Coe, R. S., M. Prévot, and P. Camps, “New evidence for extraordinarily
rapid change of the geomagnetic field during a reversal,” Nature 374 (20
April 1995) pp. 687-92.
14. Humphreys, D. R., “Physical mechanism for reversals of the earth’s magnetic
field during the flood,” in Proc. 2nd Intern. Conf. on Creationism,
Vol. II, Creation Science Fellowship (1991).
15. Austin, S. A. and J. D. Morris, “Tight folds and clastic dikes as evidence
for rapid deposition and deformation of two very thick stratigraphic sequences,”
in Proc. 1st Internat. Conf. on Creationism, Vol. II, Creation
Science Fellowship (1986), pp. 3-15.
16. Ibid, pp. 11-12.
17. Gentry, R. V., “Radioactive halos,” Annual Review of Nuclear Science 23
(1973) 347-362.
18. Gentry, R. V. et al., “Radiohalos in coalified wood: new evidence relating to
time of uranium introduction and coalification,” Science 194 (15 Oct.
1976) 315-318.
19. Gentry, R. V., “Radiohalos in a radiochronological and cosmological perspective,”
Science 184 (5 Apr. 1974) 62-66.
20. Gentry, R. V., Creation’s Tiny Mystery, Earth Science Associates (1986)
P.O. Box 12067, Knoxville, TN 37912-0067, pp. 23-37, 51-59, 61-62.
21. Vardiman, L., The Age of the Earth’s Atmosphere: a Study of the Helium
Flux through the Atmosphere, Institute for Creation Research (1990) P.O.
Box 2667, El Cajon, CA 92021.
22. Gentry, R. V. et al., “Differential helium retention in zircons: implications
for nuclear waste management,” Geophys. Res. Lett. 9 (Oct. 1982) 1129-
1130. See also ref. 20, pp. 169-170.
23. Deevey, E. S., “The human population,” Scientific American 203 (Sept.
1960) 194-204.
24. Marshak, A., “Exploring the mind of Ice Age man,” Nat. Geog. 147 (Jan.
1975) 64-89.
25. Dritt, J. O., “Man's earliest beginnings: discrepancies in the evolutionary

 
At Friday, August 05, 2005 1:06:00 PM, Blogger DM said...

As a professor of biblical studies at a very conservative baptist university, I strongly oppose the teaching of intelligent design in schools. 1) Its bad Bible; 2) Its bad science; 3) Its bad bedfellows (remember, Rev. Moon and his team are the biggest supporters of Intelligent Design education); 4) ID education is a philosophical approach to science, not science. Its like making people study organic chemistry so we can have a Bible study on Genesis 1--they are two different fields of study that don't belong together.
I am very happy to say that my conversations on this issue with a Texas State School Board member contributed to I-D being taught in TX schools being defeated last year. Now with Bush pushing it, it appears ignorance and bad theology will have free reign again.

Sucks to be an American child trying to gain an education.

 
At Friday, August 05, 2005 3:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Creationism

Helen Fryman
June 26,1999

In the midst of the debates -- or wars -- concerning the issues of creation and evolution, there is a tendency to over-generalize. Both sides often refer to the opposing side with the broad term of either "evolutionist" or "creationist." And yet there exists within both sides a great deal of variety and even controversy. As a creationist myself, I am hoping the following will help increase the understanding of the variety of positions on the creationist side of the fence.

In the United States, and perhaps in all the western culture(s), the term "creationism," or "creation," is automatically associated with Christianity and the Bible. In particular it is associated with the book of Genesis, the beginning book of the Bible, which recounts the story of creation. However this generalization ignores those of other faiths who believe just as firmly in creation as opposed to evolution from their respective points of view. The Islamic faith is a creationist faith (whether or not its proponents agree with this position). Information regarding the Islamic creation beliefs may be found here:

http://www.cs.mu.oz.au/~bakal/islam/nature.html


In Japan, there is the Kojiki, the ancient chronicle of creation.

The book Red Earth, White Lies, by Vine Deloria, Jr., (Fulcrum Publishing, 350 Indiana Street, Suite 350, Golden, Colorado 80401) deals with the Native American beliefs regarding creation as opposed to evolution.

The list could ago on, but it is important to realize that the term "creation" should not be relegated to Christianity exclusively. This is doing a great disservice to the beliefs of many other people in the world.

Because Genesis is also the first book of the Hebrew, or Jewish, Scriptures, there is a strong creation movement within the Jewish faith as well. Some of the points of view may be found on this webpage: (link no longer valid) http://members.xoom.com/torahscience


Within the Christian community, there are also different views of creation:.

1. Old universe, old earth, old life: This view is commonly held by theistic evolutionists, or those who claim Christian beliefs regarding Jesus Christ but do not accept Genesis as a straightforward account of the beginning of all things. This model accepts ancient ages based on man's knowledge of science and the laws science is aware of today. This is the compromise position, basically, between creation and evolution. When there is seeming opposition between the Bible and current science, science wins and the Bible is considered either incorrectly translated or incorrectly understood. Although God is acknowledged in this model, He is generally relegated to the position of "clockmaker" in an almost deistic fashion; He set up the universe and life and established the laws by which it has run ever since.

2. Old universe, old earth, recent life: This position is held by those who subscribe to what is often referred to as the "Gap Theory" of Genesis, wherein it is believed that the universe and the earth are quite old, but that, at one point or another, and for one reason or another, the early earth was either destroyed and re-created or simply held in abeyance until the creation of recent life. This is the official, or semi-official doctrine of some churches.

3. Old universe, young earth, recent life: This position, not as commonly held, considers the universe to be old, but earth itself, and, subsequently life, to be young. This is also the position of some parts of Christianity.

4. Young universe, young earth, recent life: This is the classic Christian model which is so widely disputed by those of the evolution camp. In this model the entire universe, including, of course, the earth and all life, is less than 10,000 years old. This is in keeping with the most straightforward reading of the Genesis account in combination with the lists of generations in Genesis 5, 10 and 11.

It is the fourth model, which is the commonly considered definition of "creation" as it is discussed today. This is the model, along with -- to a lesser degree -- models 2 and 3 which is ridiculed and fought against by many in professional education, science, and communications. Within the last three models there are several "sub-groups" as well. Here I will deal with only the fourth model, known as the YEC model (young earth creation model) as the others are included or excluded by implication.

1. The Flood of Noah was responsible for the vast majority of the geologic strata we see today. This is the historic position of young earth creationists. It is the official position of the most well-known creation organizations, including the Institute of Creation Research in southern California (http://www.icr.org) and Answers in Genesis (http://www.answersingenesis.org/index.asp?Area=Home ), based both in Kentucky and Brisbane, Australia.

2. The Flood of Noah was only one of several catastrophic events contributing to the geologic record. There are a number of individuals in this camp who have been putting together models based on what they understand of both the Bible and the geologic record as well as other areas of science. The two most noted at this point are Barry Setterfield and Bernard Northrup. However other models are also in the works according to several communications I have received personally.

With this short introduction, then, it might be seen that to categorize "creationists" into one camp -- often the fourth camp of the Christian position -- is to be working out of ignorance of what is involved in creation. As a note, as well, it might also be necessary to clear up the term "creation science." Science is science. Lab work is lab work and field work is field work. Science, in its purest form, deals with what can be tested and worked with. It does not matter, when adding materials to a Petri dish, when excavating fossils, when operating the spacecraft, whether the person or people involved are atheistic, deistic, agnostic, New Age, or however else they might consider themselves. The technical aspects are not part of the belief systems of the men and women involved.
The adjectives "creation" and "evolution" get added to the term "science" when the matter of presuppositions and conclusions are dealt with. There is no scientist anywhere in the world who does not hold to some kind of presuppositional truth in his own life. That which he considers true will invariably color his understanding of the science he is involved with. Thus, those who believe evolution to be true will see their work in terms of evolution theory. Those who believe creation to be true will see their work in terms of creation theory. Each will form conclusions based on what they consider true in the first place. The data can be exactly the same and the conclusions can be radically different because of this. Thus, "creation science" is not a separate science itself, but a way of looking at science through the eyes of those who believe, in whatever form, that the universe and all life was the result of creation by some kind of deity.
The last point that should be brought up here is the relatively new area referred to as "Intelligent Design." Those involved with this frame of reference are part of various religions or are non-religious altogether. Intelligent Design is the logical and philosophical position, combined with science, which says that the universe and life itself give strong evidence for intelligent design. The identity of the Intelligent Designer is left to the individual -- it is not a matter for discussion within the parameters of the Intelligent Design movement itself. There are both Christians and non-Christians in this movement, as well as those who are agnostic. It is a far wider-reaching category of thought than creation as discussed above, but includes it. Some of the articles by those involved in the Intelligent Design field can be found here:

http://www.origins.org/menus/evolution.html
http://www.arn.org/arn2.htm

Understanding the different areas of creation beliefs should help all those involved in the debates to argue more precisely and intelligently. When broad generalizations are made it can cause respect to be lost and produce defensiveness. There is too much to be said in the creation/evolution controversy for ignorance to be allowed to lead the way.

 
At Saturday, August 06, 2005 10:16:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Which ever side you fall on I think it is safe to say that the earth is millions of years old. Just hundreds of years ago it was believed that the earth was flat.

While all the data provided on this thread is impressive, I think it is presumptious to believe that any theory out there is conclusive. It may be several hundred or thousands of years from now before we can come to a conclusion.

Unless, of course, Jesus comes to the earth once again and settles the debate.

the Heckler

 
At Saturday, August 06, 2005 10:24:00 PM, Blogger Richard Wolfe said...

Lotta people by the name "Anonymous" on this blog ...

 
At Sunday, August 07, 2005 3:00:00 PM, Anonymous Alex said...

Richard,

I tend to believe in a "young earth" by my interpretation. But I also respect many theologians who hold to the "old earth" viewpoint. I do not think our souls are in danger while we honestly study this further.

 
At Sunday, August 07, 2005 10:54:00 PM, Blogger Richard Wolfe said...

Alex,

Thanks.

Richard

 
At Thursday, August 11, 2005 8:00:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...The Kansas Board of Education has voted 6-4 to include greater criticism of evolution in its school science standards, but will submit the standards to an outside review before taking a final vote. The language favored by the board comes from advocates of intelligent design, who say life and the universe are too complex to have evolved by accident. The standards are used in developing state tests for fourth-, seventh-, and tenth-graders, though local schools have the final say on what is taught in their classrooms. Students will be tested on the new standards in the 2007-2008 school year. The board is expected to vote on final approval of the standards in October. [AP]

 

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