Monday, November 14, 2011

Leaving by the back door

steve hays November 9, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

“Jim,Thus, if I may be blunt, I think people like you and Al Mohler deserve much blame when (for example) I see Christians walk away from Jesus in college because they learned X, Y, or Z traditional belief about the Bible, Biblical History, etc., may not have been what they were taught.”

There’s more than one way to walk away from the faith. Another way is to treat everything in Christian theology as optional. You may continue to go through the motions, attending church, keeping up appearances, but psychologically you already left the faith behind. What remains is just a shell.

You can leave the faith by the backdoor as well as the front door. 

steve hays November 9, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

“They are simply looking at the data and deriving a conclusion that best fits the facts. And the data gives absolutely no evidence of an orginal pair of human beings who lived 6000 years ago and from whom all humanity descended. No amount of further studying the data will lead to this conclusion either.”

That’s philosophically naive. Science has a default assumption about the uniformity of nature. All things being equal, science presumes continuity. Natural processes happen at a given rate.

But science itself is constantly messing with nature. A lot of modern technology introduces a counterflow dynamic into the process to yield a different result. Agents interacting with nature can alter the outcome.

Likewise, drawing inferences from the presumptive state of the gene pool over time involves suppositions regarding the rate of genetic drift. But that, itself, is not an evidentiary datum.

Some of the commenters sound like the wilderness generation. That generation didn’t take divine agency seriously. They expected things to happen the way things normally happen.

steve hays November 9, 2011 at 2:40 pm #

“Adam and Eve didn’t exist, the story is a myth, period.”

Gabe is wrong, period. See how easy that was?

“What’s more probable, that all these scientists and vast accumulated knowledge are wrong…”

If you’re still discussing genomics, then we don’t have vast accumulated knowledge of genomics. That’s a fairly recent, very fluid scientific discipline.

If you’re discussing macroevolution, then “all scientists” don’t agree.

“…or that an ancient creation story is wrong?”

What’s more likely–that fallible scientists attempting to reconstruct the past from trace evidence and methodological naturalism are wrong, or the Creator telling us what he did?

“Believing in a literal Adam and Eve is almost on par with believing in a flat earth in the face of contradicting evidence.”

Once again, you’re just like a member of the wilderness generation. You don’t make allowance for divine agency. For you, God’s presence is indistinguishable from his absence.

steve hays November 9, 2011 at 2:48 pm #
More likely that (some) scientists are wrong.

steve hays November 9, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

“Wrong, there is already a vast amount of knowledge accumulated.”

You have a habit of substituting adjectives for arguments. You pay lip-service to the “evidence,” but defend your position with one-liners.

steve hays November 9, 2011 at 3:03 pm #

i) To begin with, that’s not my entire argument, is it? I’ve also presented some philosophical arguments which you simply disregard–because you have no counterargument.

ii) And if there’s good evidence to believe in the inspiration of Scripture, then that authorizes whatever Scripture teaches.

And, of course, there are arguments for the inspiration of Scripture.

steve hays November 9, 2011 at 4:16 pm #
There are many objections to macroevolution. It isn’t just Genesis.

Moreover, if you’re concerned about intellectual honesty, it should concern you that according to naturalistic evolution, your intellect is the byproduct of a mindless process.

“But that’s what it all boils down to. Without the book of Gensis do you really think anyone would be saying we all descended from two humans 6,000 years ago? That conclusion is the result of reading the story and then trying to twist all the data to conform. That’s intellectual dishonesty.”

I haven’t said anything about chronology one way or the other. But since you keep harping on the issue, there’s no direct evidence for the age of the world. All we really have is a current ongoing process. We can hypothetically run the clock backwards from the present to a hypothetical point of origin.

Yet that’s like taking the period set of Clint Eastwood’s Pale Rider and retrojecting a backstory. But there’s nothing that actually corresponds to the backstory. The story doesn’t go back any further than where the movie begins–some time in the 19C. There is no time before the movie begins. That’s the actual point of origin, even though you could hypothetically run the clock back in “time” to hypothetical past characters.

steve hays November 10, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

“You can’t even address the mechanism used to determine the age of the earth, fossils, etc. If you actually studied it you would realize you are wrong in your assumption. Try again.”

You just never get it, do you? My assumptions (whatever they may be) are not the question at issue. Rather, what’s at issue are the unprovable assumptions feeding into the “mechanism” used to determine the age of earth, fossils, &c. Unless and until you can mount an actual argument to the contrary, you’re spinning your wheels and kicking up mud. Try again.

steve hays November 10, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

How bout you presenting something that resembles an actual argument for a change?

As far as reading goes, I own The Bible, Rocks, and Time: Geological Evidence for the Age of the Earth by Davis Young and Ralph Stearley. This is a 500pp defense of the antiquity of the earth, with a full rundown of all the conventional dating techniques. So it would behoove not to impute your ignorance to me, since that merely makes you look doubly ignorant.

steve hays November 11, 2011 at 12:59 pm #
Don Johnson

“You have formed a cocoon that allows you to play a game of solipsism. Why do you think this brings glory to God?”

You have made a tendentious assertion in lieu of a reasoned argument. Why do you think this brings glory to God? 


  1. Steve,

    Could you provide the link to these interactions?


  2. This particular interaction took place over on Jim Hamilton's fine blog here. :-)

  3. Good Recap Steve,

    "You can leave the faith by the backdoor as well as the front door."

    But these folks are not merely leaving... but trying to tear the hinges off the doors as well. So that you think that you are just entering another room.

    To use the nautical terminology 0f Hebrews 2:1- these folks have done more than just "drift away".
    They have "fallen away" (Hebrews 6:6). They have jumped ship in stormy weather. They have panicked. They have lost faith in the ship and have fabricated a raft from its deck chairs.

    And strangely thinking that their raft still gives glory to the mother-ship... since it was fabricated from various parts of the mother-ship. When in fact it spits in the face of the mother-ship. Their raft is mere flotsam and jetsam.

    Is it possible to renew these folks again to repentance, Steve?