Why Accepting Evolution is Incompatible with Christianity

bible vs evolution

As much as some people might try, it is impossible to square evolution with Christianity. Even embracing theistic evolution requires a significant amount of intellectual gymnastics in order to reach the conclusion that the Christian God is behind evolution. In my opinion, theodicy — the problem of evil and suffering —  presents an insurmountable problem for theistic evolutionists. Why would a God, any God, choose such a violent, painful, deadly way to create?

Jerry Coyne, a biologist and a professor at the University of Chicago in the Department of Ecology and Evolution, writes:

…It is in fact different from asking whether one believes (“accepts” is a better word because “believe” implies a religious-like faith) in theory of gravity or generality relativity, and the reason is obvious. The theories of gravity and relativity don’t impinge on anyone’s religious beliefs. Evolution carries implications that no other science does—save, perhaps some branches of cosmology. It implies that humans evolved by the same blind, materialistic, and naturalistic process involved in the evolution of every other species, and so we aren’t special in any numious sense. It implies that we’re not the special objects of God’s creation. It sinks the “design” argument for God—the most powerful argument in the canon of Natural Theology. It implies that we were not endowed by God with either a soul or moral instincts, so that our morality is a product of both evolution and rational consideration. It implies that much of our behavior reflects evolved, genetically-influenced propensities rather than dualistic “free will.” It implies that even if God did work through the process of evolution , He did so using a horrible and painful process of natural selection, a form of “natural evil” that doesn’t comport well with God’s supposed omnibenevolence…

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67 Comments

  1. Lana

    Correct. there is built-in, and inevitable, suffering to evolution that seems incompatible with a greater being theology. I don’t quite agree that suffering is incompatible with theism, but I can certainly understand the argument. I often say that the problem of evil is the strongest argument against theism.

    Reply
  2. Geoff

    Fundamentalists don’t understand either the term ‘theory’ or the facts behind evolution. The word ‘theory’ doesn’t mean ‘hypothesis’; Theory is usually applied where there is a lack of predictability to the area being discussed, but does not cast doubt on the underlying science. In other words evolution has been established as a matter of scientific fact, end of story.

    The facts behind evolution are that there now billions of individual, and conjoined, pieces of supporting evidence, and not one that runs contra to the theory. Even without the fossil record It is absolute evidence, but the fossil record makes it all the more compelling. Note that, contrary to the absurd claims of the fundamentalists, there are literally millions of transitional fossils.

    Oops, sorry, got carried away, but it is one of my pet subjects.

    Reply
  3. marfin

    So what do you make of Stephen J Gould and Niles Eldridge when they say there are no transitional fossils and their theory of punctuated equilibria better suits what the fossil record shows.

    Reply
    1. Geoff

      I’m afraid I have to contradict your claim that punctuated equilibrium is at odds with the fossil record. Even under punctuated equilibrium the word ‘rapid’, in relation to evolutionary change, is very relative, leaving lots of room for the fossils that Gould and Eldridge had to take account of in their theory.

      However, most modern evolutionary thought is dismissive of the theory as originally proposed, though it is accepted that evolutionary change is by no means constant, something that Darwin himself was conscious of.

      Reply
      1. marfin

        So they were wrong when they state that there were no transitional fossils.Their theory was to their minds consistent with the facts that evolution happen rapidly and left no transitional fossils, hence stasis, stasis, stasis,
        punctuation of stasis, stasis stasis ,etc

        Reply
        1. Geoff

          “So they were wrong when they state that there were no transitional fossils.”

          Yes, correct, they were wrong, something Gould came to admit later. He was a very accomplished scientist who had a habit of saying things that left an opening for fundamentalists. His NOMA proposition is a case in point.

          Reply
  4. marfin

    So you believe there are transitional fossils, so what is the criteria for something being a transitional fossil, there are
    millions of fossils , what makes a transitional fossil as opposed to just a fossil.

    Reply
    1. limey

      Any fossil that belongs to a species that has ancestors and descendents is a transitional fossil. Which pretty much means all fossils. The challenging part is working out how they fit since evolution isn’t a linear process, more of a sprawling jumble of branches ands dead ends.

      Reply
  5. Geoff

    I don’t ‘believe’ anything, I simply repeat the views of those who know.

    Transitional fossils are those that share characteristics with ancestors that subsequently attach to a derived descendant. As with species, they can easily fall into the Sorites Paradox.

    Reply
    1. marfin

      A fossil is just a fossil, it does not tell you who its ancestor`s were , so how does science put this to the test.

      Reply
  6. Geoff

    As I’m not an evolutionary scientist I’m not answering that one. Your comment implies that you doubt that they can do what is being asserted, a somewhat disrespectful point of view. Google, or better still read Dawkins ‘the Greatest Show on Earth’ if you are actually wanting to understand better.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Marfin doesn’t want to understand, he already knows. It’s in the science book he and the Apostle Paul use.

      The simple answer to his question is…they look for differences.

      Like you, I am no scientist. I read and attempt to educate myself, but I put my trust, dare I say faith, in experts who have devoted their life to their respective field. Jerry Coyne’s book, Why Evolution is True, is an excellent book on the subject.

      Reply
      1. Geoff

        Thanks Bruce, I’ve been meaning to read Jerry Coyne’s book for sometime. I’ll now make a point of it. I initially misunderstood Marfin’s intentions; must be the new tactic, appearing to have some understanding of the subject.

        Reply
        1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

          He’s been commenting on and off for a few years. He usually only comments on evolution, science related posts.

          Reply
      2. marfin

        Bruce how would you feel if I accused you of not wanting to understand, you would tell me about your years as a Christian , a pastor, a man dedicated to God and so equipped to understand, but is it impossible for you to be wrong ,who knows? Bruce I like to follow the evidence not the crowd.
        I am not AMERICAN and so not subject to the influences of evangelical AMERICA and all its right wing God Bless America nonsense.So I take the Bible, the evidence of nature and the evidence for evolution on its merits, hence I have read Why evolution is true and the arguments of the book live and die on 2 pages , I don`t have the book to hand but its around pages 123-124, there it says all the raw material for evolutionary change comes from mutation. ALL the raw material so if you are building a house and you say all the raw material from the house came from such and such a place that excludes raw material coming from somewhere else.Now mutation are copying mistakes , so what he is saying is that all the raw material for change comes from copying mistakes, so to get from a single celled amoeba to, butterfly wings to , eagles eyes to those beautiful birds you just photographed, and even the human brain you just need to make billions of mistakes and then keep selecting the best of them.This is totally illogical, no one who has any sense would see this as a way to produce a yo-yo let alone every living creature we know of, let Boeing fire all there designers and start building planes based on this method of constant mistake making and selecting the best mistakes , both their stock and planes would plummet. So Bruce I want to understand , I just want to understand the truth.Just one more thing , in these so called copying mistakes , it has never been shown that any new information was imparted, it is always the same information or a decrease in information,so again it would be like Boeing , trying to get fro a prop engined bi plane to a 747 without any new information being brought to the process, sounds logical to me ” I think not.
        Richard Dawkins , Jack Hyles, Jerry Coyne,, and all the other self serving evangelical guys you speak of , they are all cut from the same cloth, title`s,fame or uniforms do not impart truth, honesty, morality , or any other good qualities on anyone.

        Reply
        1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

          Here’s why I said what I did. You have been commenting on this one subject for several years. People trained in science, you know people with real science degrees, have taken time to answer your questions and engage you in discussion. No matter what they say, you have not moved once iota from your position.

          Is this because their data is wrong, they are poorly educated, or poor communicators? No. The problem is your presuppositions about the Bible. I have told you this before, let’s discuss your beliefs about the Bible itself, a discussion I am more than qualified to have with you. Let’s talk about the claims you make for the Bible.

          Here’s why this is important. If you can be disabused of your beliefs about the Bible, then accepting evolution or any other scientific fact that contradicts the Bible becomes much easier.

          Are you willing to go down this path, a path that ends with the Bible being stripped of inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility? Are you willing to abandon faith for reason?

          I suspect your answer is no. You truly aren’t following facts, the evidence wherever it leads. Your settled belief is that the Bible is the Word of God. No amount of scientific evidence or argument is going to change your mind about your belief that the Christian God created the universe. To change your mind would require you to abandon your faith and I doubt you have any intention of doing that.

          A true seeker follows the path wherever it leads, even if it leads them away from God and the Bible. You don’t strike me as a guy that is willing to do that.

          Reply
          1. marfin

            Sure Bruce if you want to talk Bible with me no problem , pick a subject and we will take it from there.

          2. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            1.) What is the Bible?

            2.) Is the Bible inerrant?

            3.) Is the Bible inspired?

            4.) Is the Bible infallible?

            5.) Is the Bible scientifically and historically correct?

            6.) Is the Bible above human reason?

          3. marfin

            Re science , when Ernst Boris chain the father of modern vaccination called Darwinism a fairy story , was he not qualified to do so.Is science a numbers game or a an test, experiment , observe, result, game. Every large scale shift in medicine, physics , biology etc stems from someone going against the status quo, the wisdom of the many. Google the doctor who tried to convince his peers that washing your hands and instruments between patients stops the spread of germs, he was ridiculed and mocked to the point of almost going mad.You think people don`t mock you for going against all those big name pastors but their big names and reputation is no guarantee of them being right, as most times they seek their own glory not the truth.Am I biased yes but not to the extent that I ignore the evidence, I was an atheist it would cost me nothing to go back to it as I live in Europe the land of atheists where religion is dismissed as a fairy story so its not like my standing in the community would somehow be lessened or i would be persecuted for going back to being an atheist, on the contrary I would be welcomed back to the fold and told sure lets have a pint of Guinness , now you are done with that religious nonsense.

        2. Geoff

          Two points.

          Using the term ‘anyone who has any sense’ puts you in the fundamental group because I guarantee, without fail, that nobody who uses that expression in this context exhibits sense. You don’t think the (legitimate) scientists of the world, not one of whom agrees with you, have sense?

          Evolution does not happen by a series of ‘mistakes’. That is a term coined by the Ken Ham’s of this world to try and corrupt thinking, successfully I’m sorry to say in your case. A small mutation that confers environmental advantage is not a ‘mistake’.

          Reply
          1. marfin

            I dont know if you have children Geoff but if you know any pregnant women take a trip to the hospital with them and tell their doctor that you are hoping the baby is mutated in some way shape or form, and just see how they react.Cells try to replicate themselves perfectly when they dont its considered a mistake, an error in replication.

          2. Geoff

            Not at all, there’s a world of difference between a damaged or diseased reproductive event, and the small mutations that may lead to evolutionary change. Essentially there is no such thing as perfect cell reproduction, variation at a tiny level occurring every time.

            Incidentally I haven’t especially studied the view of Ernst Boris Chain but appeal to authority, which that is, is not a good argument.

          3. limey

            When a child has different hair colour or eye colour or other featurtheira parent it’s because of mutation.

            Every Child had some mutated genes that makes them different to the parents and their siblings.

            You are using a negative connotation in a context that doesn’t mean negative. Just different.

  7. marfin

    Using Ernst Boris Chain was not an appeal to authority , I was just being told pretty much all scientist accept evolution ,
    so my view should take note of this, but when men like Chain have a different view to most scientist it cannot be claimed “sure what would he know”which is basically what I am being told.

    Reply
    1. John Arthur

      Hi Marfin,

      Do you accept that science does not appeal to authority but is evidence based?

      Do you accept that on the overwhelming evidence supports evolution or not?

      Do you believe that the bible is/is not a scientific textbook?

      Do you believe that the bible is infallible or not? Can it have errors in it: historical, scientific, moral and theological errors?

      Do you believe that the first 11 chapters of Genesis are historical or are the events largely based on myths?

      Do you accept a historical-grammatical interpretation of the bible or not?

      Are the genealogies of the bible meant to be interpreted literally or not?

      Was the great Flood geographically universal or a local flood, or is it simply myth?

      Do you believe in “Flood geology” or do you accept the principle of uniformitarianism?

      Answers to these questions might help us understand better where you are coming from. Why don’t you follow the suggestion of Bruce and bring the discussion back to theology? If God of the bible exists, then surely there must be some way of reconciling the bible with the best of science? So do you think that evolution is compatible with the bible or not? If so, why? If not, why not?

      Shalom,

      John Arthur

      Reply
  8. marfin

    Sorry Bruce I was missing for a few days
    What is the Bible.? A very big question Bruce , so I am not sure what you are asking , but its Gods word, Gods plan for mankind to be reconciled to him, Gods plan to teach man about mans durability etc .etc
    is it inerrant ? there are possible mistakes see first chapter of Matthew re numbers of generations
    Is it inspired ? yes
    Is it infallible ? yes
    Is it scientific and historically accurate ? yes
    Is it above human reason ? not sure what you mean by this , but if I think and reason one way but the bible says different who is right , the bible.

    Reply
  9. John Arthur

    Hi Marfin,

    You admit that there are possible mistakes in the bible, yet you believe that it is infallible. If there is one mistake, how can you say that it is infallible?

    You maintain that it is scientifically true If we accept a literal-historical interpretation of this book, then it would seem that creation took place some 6,000- 10,000 years ago. Yet science points to a beginning about 14 billion years ago. Someone has made a huge mistake. Either it is a literal historical view of the bible or it is science. Does the bible trump the findings of physics?

    Or are the early chapters of Genesis simply myths? Does the bible trump physics, geology, biology and anthropology or is it simply a collection of human understandings of God which are very fallible indeed? How can 14 billion years be squared with 6000? Or do you reject YEC?

    Shalom

    John Arthur

    Reply
  10. marfin

    James are you saying scientist are infallible, have never made a mistake, have never been wrong, how can you believe them, if they can be wrong in one thing surely they could be wrong in many things. There is a huge difference between science and the scientist , Science in its truest form is a methodology , a practice that if followed correctly leads to a more than good chance of being right. But scientist`s are human and being human are every bit as vain, dishonest, greedy, self serving as any other human , and as such are guilty of seeing what they want to see in their work rather than what the results actually say. I believe the bible is Gods word as it was handed down to man in its original form, and in that form infallible, I also believe there are good and bad translations of that word, an as a thinking human if I put the work in I believe the good can be sorted from the bad.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      How can we know what the original content of the Bible was? There are no originals. All we have are copies of copies of copies. The oldest extant manuscript of the Old Testament is dated 150 BCE. Supposedly, the OT contains roughly 4,000 years of history, yet there no extant manuscripts exist for 3,800 of those years.

      Most of the extant New Testament manuscripts are dated centuries after the life and death of Jesus. The bulk of them are dated 10th century and later.

      All told, there are upwards of 400,000 manuscript variants. Yes, there are more manuscripts of the biblical text than there are for many ancient texts, but Christians make supernatural claims for the Bible that no one makes for other ancient texts.

      So, I ask you, exactly what is inerrant? Can the Bible’s inerrancy be verified? If so, how? If not, isn’t it best to stop claiming inerrancy for the Bible and admit that the Bible, at best, is a flawed human document? This seems to be the honest position. Now, if you believe what you do about the Bible by faith, then there really is no ground for us to have a meaningful discussion. Faith is a discussion killer because it is an appeal to something that can not be proved or verified.

      Reply
      1. marfin

        Neither you or I are scholars of bible history , and as you and I know for every Scholar on one side saying you cannot trust the Bible you have a scholar on the other side saying you can. You see history is not an exact science you cannot prove in a lab that the bible is historically accurate or true, no more than you can prove in a lab that Washington crossed the Delaware, you have to some degree trust the written records and testimony of the day. You may call this faith , but if so then we have faith in pretty much every historical document ever written, and we are at at the mercy of every historical scholar on these subjects.I know the implications of trusting the bible are greater than trusting most historical events but in the research I have done I believe the evidence is strong enough if favour of trusting the bible as Gods word. I can go down to the Chester Beatty library here in Dublin and see manuscripts of 1 Corinthians and the gospel of John dating back to the 150 ad to 250 ad period does this mean its Gods word of course not but it give some confidence in checking translations etc.But more than that for me the teaching`s of the bible itself to my mind are not man made as they offer no earthy prize, glory, position, or real reward for man, . Now we know thats not how it has panned out in real life as the Pope, Bob Gray , Jack Kyle etc are examples of men seeking their own glory , but you know the new testament say`s different.
        Hope this give you something to respond to for now.

        Reply
        1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

          You seem to think there are competing data pools. There ‘s not. Few Biblical scholars disagree with Bart Ehrman’s data. Any scholar with any sense of intellectual honesty knows that the Bible, at the textual or translation level, is not inerrant or infallible. They may believe the Bible is in some way an inspired text, but such a claim rests on faith not evidence. There is no evidence for the claim the Bible is inspired. The Bible says it is and Harry Potter says he can cast spells. Neither are true.

          I just wish you’d be honest and admit that your belief about the authority and the veracity of the Bible rests not on evidence but faith. I’m fine with that, but I don’t want to waste my time talking about the text when you are going to faith it regardless of what I say.

          Reply
    2. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Scientists are involved in disciplines that are self-correcting. This self correction often takes time, but error and fraud are usually rooted out. Can you honestly say the same for the Bible and theology? When new truth is found, do churches and theologians correct the Bible or change their beliefs and practices? Of course not.

      What happens when archeology, astronomy, or biology challenge Evangelical Christian beliefs? Do churches and theologians change their beliefs? Most often, they do not. Instead, they try to make the new data “fit” or they reject it, declaring the new data false. Answers in Genesis and Ken Ham are a good example of this.

      Reply
    3. John Arthur

      Hi Marfin,

      I don’t know what gave you the idea that I might think that science is infallible. No scientist would claim this. All I said was that there is a huge difference between 6000-10000 years and 14 billion years. No-one has to be infallible to know that there is a huge difference between science and a literal interpretation of the bible. Tell me, do you believe that the universe is about 6000=10000 years old or not!

      Shalom,

      John Arthur

      Reply
    4. John Arthur

      Hi Marfin,

      Scientists are not usually “…guilty of seeing what they want to see in their work rather than what the results actually say…” as you claim.

      Scientists practice science. They examine evidence, postulate hypotheses that seem to explain the data, then rigorously test those hypotheses by applying controlled experiments, or (if these are not possible) randomised experiments. Where neither of these is possible they gather observational data. They look at the evidence and they run hypothesis tests and publish their results in respected academic jopurnals.

      Experiments can be replicated so if anyone is fudging the data, they will (sooner or later) be found out and their scientific reputations will be in ruins. Experimental evidence from various random trials will be subject to measurement errors, but these will be purely due to chance. Random errors fluctuate around a mean of zero with a common variance.

      You say that you believe in God’s word and think that the bible is infallible. To you, the bible cannot be wrong scientifically. Yet the bible is not based on any empirical, scientific evidence , but appears to contradict the evidence of science. You would agree that there is considerable difference with and estimate of the universe based on the findings of science (approx. 14 billion years) and that based on the genealogies of your supposed “infallible” bible (6000 – 10000 years), would you not?

      Shalom,

      John Arthur

      Reply
      1. marfin

        This may be true in branch`s of science such as medicine,and engineering, but there are many area`s of science where it is not possible to put the finding to empirical tests.Tell my how you test if archaeopteryx is the ancestor to all birds or not.
        Also if science is self correcting how can you be sure the self corrected idea is now right , how can you be sure in ten years time it will not be shown to be wrong.
        So when it come to things you can empirically test I have great trust in science , when it come to things which comes down to the person telling the story , i am a little more sceptical.
        Also if a fossil hunter get a 5 million dollar grant to go find fossils and when they find the latest greatest fossil who in their right mind would spend 5 million dollars to prove them wrong. There is only fame fortune and glory in making discoveries, not refuting them.
        You need to read ,”an open letter to the scientific community”, If I can remember I think it was printed in scientific american. This letter is signed by numerous scientist none of them creationists or ID`ers in the letter they complain that it is impossible to get funding to research any theory in cosmology that is against the big bang model, so you tell me how does science work if these reputable scientist cannot get funding to examine the evidence and refute the finding`s of the establishment

        Reply
      2. marfin

        Just a brief note on two different teams both trying to show how old the grand canyon is , one team lead by Rebecca Flowers one by Prof Karlstrom,statement from the reports as follows.Flowers said ” it will take a bit more time to fully understand why their interpretations are so different to ours.Small changes in assumptions can mean big changes in interpretations .For instance some studies assume a ground at the surface of 25 deg c
        whereas Karlstroms team used a range of 10-25 deg c . Such changes mean big differences for interpreting how long a piece of apatite has been buried.
        That just hit me like a ton of bricks said Brian Wernicke a Caltech geologist who has argued for an ancient canyon.Of Karlstrom choices he said they are not thinking this through.
        Karlstrom said it makes more sense to use a range of temperatures as they probably varied over millions of years. It remains to be seen where the debate moves next.
        So John which team is scientifically correct.

        Reply
        1. John Arthur

          Hi Marfin,

          ” … which team is scientifically correct.”

          Only the continual gathering of evidence enables scientists to determine which team is correct when hypotheses are disputed. Science goes by the cumulative wight of evidence and certainly not by the reliance on the scientific accuracy or otherwise of any holy book.

          Concerning funding of scientific research.

          Financial resources are scarce relative to the uses to which they can be put, so using such scarce resources to research hypotheses that are not accepted by the scientific community seems to be a waste of such resources. Nevertheless, those groups that think that that they should have a share of the scarce financial resources are at liberty to raise funds from private organisations, not just from universities. There is no conspiracy against doing research on hypotheses other than the big bang theory of origins. It’s just that this theory is the predominant view and unless alternatives have sufficient weight, it would seem to be a waste of scarce funding resources to devote too much of the universities’ scarce resource funds to such an endeavour.

          Shalom,

          John Arthur

          Reply
  11. marfin

    If science if self correcting and changes when new evidence comes along why would you trust any scientific statements as it according to you may change tomorrow when new material becomes available.
    I fully believe in science and scientific methodology, the Idea that the universe made itself by itself from nothing and every living thing on this planet came from big bang via hydrogen gas in an undirected process, is not science and cannot be tested in a scientific way.
    As I have said before I have no problem whatsoever with people not believing in God but when they get unscientific and use the term SCIENCE as a support then I have a problem.
    Some people want a Darwin day, WHY? what about the vast number of scientists who through their work have saved millions of lives have got man to the moon have created a host of life saving devices no don`t have a day for them have it for the man who give us support in our dismissal of God, Darwinism is a religion trust me.

    Reply
    1. John Arthur

      Hi Marfin,

      You say that you ” fully believe in science and scientific methodology.”, yet you will not answer whether the universe is much older than the biblical estimate of 6000 – 10000 years. Do you accept radioactive methods of decay to determine the age of fossils? These show that the earth, itself, is much older than the biblical estimate. Hence the universe itself is much older than the biblical estimate.

      Shalom,

      John Arthur

      Reply
      1. marfin

        You cannot date a fossil directly with radioactive decay methods apart from carbon dating,methods such as uranium lead , potassium , argon etc are used to date the rocks the fossils are found in, not the fossils themselves.If you read the report on dating fossils found in the kay Behrensmayer tuff in lake Turkana Keyna., the first age they got was 200 million years with the 40ar/39ar method so these fossil hominids were 200 million years old but surely that can`t be right so they just kept on dating the rocks until they got a date in keeping with their preconceived ideas.
        So I asked you a question how can you test if archaeopteryx is the ancestor to modern birds please answer this.
        Second question if no one has ever seen life come from non living materials and every single scientific SCIENTIFIC experiment and observation has shown life does not emerge from not living materials do you believe life arose from non living materials.

        Reply
        1. John Arthur

          Hi Marfin,

          I don’t know whether life began from non living materials or not. But I believe that all the energy in the universe was in the point of singularity at the big bang. Everything has “evolved” from that.

          Secondly, I am not a biologist so I am on a weak wicket when it comes to archaeopteryx.

          Radioactive methods of decay make it highly likely that the earth is much older than 6000-1000 years.

          Shalom,

          John Arthur

          Reply
          1. marfin

            You used the word believe re singularity , and now at least we agree , its a belief not a fact.

          2. marfin

            You don`t new to be a biologist or a palaeontologist to understand you cannot test fossils to see if they had ancestors, its just not testable and if not testable then not a part of real science.See quote by head of British museum of natural history Colin Patterson who candidly admitted there is no way to test fossil ancestry.

  12. John Arthur

    Hi Marfin,

    Science is self correcting but this does NOT mean that you cannot trust new statements. or necessarily reject everything about the old. e;g.When there is a paradigm shift, the old paradigm is replaced by the new one, but that does NOT necessarily mean that all of the old one is thrown out . For example, Newton’s laws of motion apply when bodies move at speeds much lower than the speed of light but are inapplicable when particles move at speeds closer to the speed of light.

    You say that the big bang is not based on scientific evidence. Evidence for a scientific theory can be direct or indirect. Tell me, Marfin: Do you believe that the universe is about 14 billion years old or is is about 6000- 10000 years old based on the genealogies of the bible? This is a simple question that you seem to be dodging.

    Marfin, do you accept that the speed of light in free space is a constant and that it moves at approx. 3 t mes 10 to the power of 8 metres per second? Do you accept that the universe is expanding? Do you accept that the universe is accelerating and that the galaxies are moving further apart? How can the bible answer any of these questions? What is needed is empirical evidence and that is found in science, not in alleged infallible holy books.

    Shalom,

    John Arthur

    Reply
  13. John Arthur

    Hi Marfin,

    You said earlier that there are possible mistakes in the bible and referred to the genealogy in Gospel according to Matthew. Yet you said that the bible is infallible. You also said that the bible is God’s word. Tell me, if your god is infallible and inspired your holy book, how can their be even one error in it? Does god inspire errors? Has god inspired the colossal error of a 6000-10000 year old creation?

    And has god inspired all the immorality in the bible that the text alleges that he did? Do you think that god inspired the texts that command the Israelites to commit genocide including the barbaric slaughter of children and little babies? And how is this barbarism said to be commanded by god reconcilable with Jesus’command that we love our enemies? How can a book with such atrocities said to be commanded by god be infallible.?

    God is supposed to be the fountain of morality but the morality displayed in the bible shows that he is more immoral than most ordinary human beings. Most people find genocide repulsive, no matter how wicked a people is supposed to be. There can never be any justification for the barbaric murder of defenceless children and babies.

    If God exists, it is better to go with a compassionate, merciful and loving God rather than the brute of the OT, the brute of 2 Thessalonians and the brute of the book of Revelation. To follow an infallible bible is not only to reject science but also to reject much morality and common decency. It is far better to reject Fundamentalism and discover a compassionate morality and to be a peace maker in the world.

    Shalom,

    John Arthur

    Reply
  14. marfin

    I have no Idea how old the universe is but when god made the first tree , horse, person, or rock how old did they appear to be, you seem to believe the age of the universe is a settled question , and we all know there are no settled questions in science. You seem to think that there are no issues with the dating methods used to date the universe.
    As with the age of the grand canyon the scientist start with an assumption and puts that assumption into the mix of working out how old the universe is but if his assumption is wrong his age is wrong. Those group of scientists who question the big bang don`t believe there is no science behind the big bang, they know the facts that there are just to many fudge factors used to patch up the theory when the evidence is not in favour of it.so please tell me what dating method do you accept that proves as a fact that the universe is 14 billion years old.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Really, you are going to go with the apparent age argument? What’s next, the God of the gaps or day age argument?

      How old was Adam when God created him? Just give an estimate. After you have settled how old Adam was when God created him, just add 6,014 years to the number. That’s the apparent age of the earth.

      You are bound to 6,014 years because you think the Bible is historically accurate. So, we can play the apparent age game all day long. This argument is nothing more than an attempt to appropriate science for a theological purpose, that purpose being that God created everything 6,014 years ago and he gave everything an apparent age.

      Here’s the bigger problem you have. Forget 14 billion years. All we need to do is find things that are older than 6,014 years old. Unless you want to argue that every bone, every fossil, every artifact an archeologist digs up was given an apparent age by God, I hope you will see how foolish of an argument this is.

      Reply
    2. John Arthur

      Hi Marfin,

      You say that the point of singularity is a belief and not a fact. Yes, but it is a belief based on evidence, not a belief for which there is no evidence like an infallible bible.

      You obviously know that astronomers and astrophysicists examine the skies through very powerful telescopes. The speed of light in free space is known and we can measure the distance in light years of the earth from various galaxies. All the evidence points to the constancy of the speed of light in free space, so it is reasonable (on the basis of known evidence) to assume that this speed has been constant for periods that we have no evidence. What is not reasonable is to assume that the speed of light has been slowing down significantly so that the universe is actually some 6000 – 10000 years old. Neither is it reasonable to assume that all the light was there 6000 – 10000 years ago and that this had an appearance of age on the basis of a holy book.

      To assume the latter is to make your god a deceiver. He created the universe recently but he deceives us because when we examine the heavens, measure the speed of light, then we get light years which are much greater than 6000 – 10000 years.

      The galaxies have been accelerating so that they are moving further and further apart. It is quite logical on this evidence to expect that in the distant past the galaxies were fewer and much closer together and that there was a point of singularity about 13.7 billion yeas ago from which the whole universe has “evolved”. So the belief is not BLIND belief. Sure , there are assumptions input into the models but they are reasonable assumptions for which there is some evidence.The difference between religious science and academic science is that the former is based on fitting the data to religious dogma whereas the latter is based on evidence

      Shalom,

      John Arthur

      Reply
  15. marfin

    Bruce tell my of any item you know for sure is older than 6000-10000 years , and not dated by methods which time and time again have been shown to make mistakes. Also Bruce show me a dating method which give absolute dates without first making assumptions about the percentage of the parent element such as uranium ,pottasium, etc in the sample rock they test. I stated earlier about the Fitch, miller testing in Lake Turkana , when they got the result that did not sit with what they believed the result should be they just tested and tested until they got the result they wanted , hardly call this pure science.
    And the apparent is a valid argument if its a fact that god made the first man ,tree, mountain, they must have had apparent age , thats if God made them.
    you ask these seeming difficult questions of me and the bible, please answer with scientific evidence to back you up how do you get all the living creatures in the world for a colourless odourless gas HYDROGEN. Now I am expected to answer about how stupid the bible and its believers are saying the universe is 6000-10000 years old , and yes I should have to answer, so you answer hydrogen gas to every living creature HOW?

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      As I have told you countless times, I am no scientist, but I know people who are, people who have given their lives over to study and research. They are not infallible, but I do trust them.

      You are asking me to believe that the overwhelming majority of scientists are wrong. Your only evidence, besides regurgitating worn out creationist arguments, is the Bible. And this is why I want to focus on the Bible, its text, and your beliefs about that text.

      I will leave it to others to engage you on the science questions. I remain quite willing to discuss the Bible, the foundation of your belief system.

      Reply
      1. marfin

        I hope I am not being disingenuous here , but I believe you are more than capable of understanding the science behind these arguments, but perhaps you chose not to look to deeply.99% of scientists are not involved in fields that deal with evolution, cosmology etc so unless they use their spare time to look into these matters they are like you they trust their fellow scientist .Most of the scientist are not deliberately dishonest but hold certain philosophical views which does not help finding the truth in the fields they work in. Nobel prize winner George Wald an avowed atheist and evolutionist said the following ” when it comes to the origin of life on this earth there are only two possibilities creation or spontaneous generation. Spontaneous generation was disproved 100 years ago , this only leaves supernatural creation , but we cannot accept that on philosophical grounds therefore we chose to believe the impossible that life arose by spontaneous chance.People are sheep they follow the crowd , you know this you in your life as a pastor have seen this, and this happen in the scientific community as well people dont rock the boat, and those with power , money fame position call the shots.

        Reply
        1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

          I’m inclined to tell you to fuck off, Marfin, but I’ll refrain from from doing so and tell what I am going to tell you one time. I say one time, but actually I have told you this several times over the years.

          I am not a scientist. I continue to read, study, and understand. I trust those who study and work in the various disciplines to give me sound, rational answers to the questions I have about the universe.

          The reason I love science is that scientists are not afraid to say I don’t know. There are many, many questions yet to be answered, yet you demand that I bow before your God until science has satisfactorily answered all the questions.

          It’s simple for me. Am I going to trust diligent scientists who are trying to better our understanding of the world or am I going to put my faith in an ancient text that is littered with errors, contradictions, and stories that are not only immoral but run counter to everything we know about the world we live in. You know which one I am going with.

          Now, back to the Bible. Gen 1-3. Monotheism or polytheism? Please make a rational, coherent argument for your monotheistic belief. No appeal to history or other books of the Bible. If a person uninitiated in Christianity read Gen 1-3 what conclusion would they come to?

          Reply
          1. marfin

            From Genesis chapter 1 verse 3 it just mentions God , if you mean the first 3 chapters of Genesis then the verse in chapter 1 verse 26 let us make man in our image you need to consider who the” our image” relates to is it the son , the holy spirit, or someone else , but the our likeness would mean the us God is taking about is like him there is not enough information here to make a definite conclusion. But it would seem just from the first three chapters like more than one God.

          2. marfin

            So the school text books should read how was the universe created? ” we don`t know, how did life begin? ” we don`t know, why are there no missing links ?, “we don`t know.They would not sell many books into the school system on that basis now would they.
            Its ok you can skip any further debate on science , as you don`t have a science degree, but consider this if someone has a degree in religious theology does it make religious theology a fact of course not so if someone has a degree in evolutionary biology it does not make it fact, the old computer adage garbage in garbage out, comes to mind.

          3. Geoff

            Please stop saying there are ‘no missing links’. This is factually and emphatically wrong.

            Every transitional fossil is a ‘link’ (which means it’s not ‘missing’). Of course it would be nice to have a complete set of fossils for every species that ever existed, but we are actually very fortunate to have what we have.

    2. limey

      You want a single living thing to be that old? What a crazy request. No doubt you’d question is age anyway by asking if i was there at its birth.

      how about tree ring data? Overlapped, tree rings take us back 10,000 years and when added to ice cores, even further.

      Tree rings and ice cores can be calibrated to volcanic events which make an impact on climate and there become good overlap markers.

      Going beyond 10,000 years is easy so you getting picky about inaccuracies is pointless because the error margin still brings the measurable age beyond the litteral bible interpretation.

      That’s before we get into inconveniences like the kt boundary or that oil and fossils take longer then 10,000 years to form. Young earth belief is outdated.

      Reply
  16. AndSometimesY

    Look, I dont know much. I am not a scientist. I cannot argue with you guys very well admittedly. I am just an average Joe. I was raised from day one in a fundamentalist Bible believing preachers home, went to Christian school, etc. So its fair to say they did the best job they could at brainwashing me completely. I rebelled against it all. I did my absolute best to become an atheist and to buy into evolution and to throw out everything I was taught. I wanted to buy into evolution! I am now in my mid 40’s. I am still confused by and have a difficult time buying into the idea of the Bible being absolute truth. However, try as I might, the idea of evolution being true STILL makes even less sense to me than the Bible. Try as I might, I just cannot accept that the intricacies of just one cell of the human body came about by pure chance and billions of years of time. I dont care what anyone says – it makes absolutely zero logical sense. Call me an idiot. Try to say I am still holding on to my belief in Biblical inerrancy – whatever. I dont want to believe wholly in Biblical inerrancy because I will have to live my life accordingly, but again, I do not understand how anyone can look at the beauty of this planet – how everything works together perfectly – or look at the intricacies of the human eye and still say “all that came about by pure chance, accident and a bajillion years of time.”

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      For the sake of argument, let me agree with you…that the universe shows signs of there being a creator. How does one get from A GOD creating everything and THE GOD, the God of Christianity and the Bible creating everything? What is there in nature that points to the Christian God being the creator and not any of the other Gods humans worship?

      Reply
  17. Geoff

    Oh Marfin, are you still going with this. Well let me make a few comments that don’t answer everything but are an attempt to deal with some of the erroneous opinions you continue to espouse.

    1. Archaeopteryx is a transitional fossil between reptiles and birds. It has features that clearly belong in both camps, and where it was found is in a time period consistent with where it was predicted it could be expected to be found. Thanks to Jerry Coyne I know this, and I refer you to his book for further information.

    2. Your dismissal of dating methods is ridiculous. There are many dating methods available, according to circumstance, and it is normal to cross-match by using several. Dating is now reliable to within a very small percentage point; certainly only the very determined could possibly dispute the variance of several billion years with just a few thousand.

    3. Science changes, but not in any way that makes it difficult to rely on. Usually changing science is science developing rather than changing. For example, Newton was superseded by Einstein, but this did not render Newton wrong. If you like, Einstein simply gave greater accuracy to Newton’s equations.

    4. This obsession with how life began isn’t that far from being solved (abiogenesis). Mankind has been able to give the matter serious attention for little more than a few decades, whilst nature had millions of years. There are already hints that the answer lies in very particular conditions (that are very difficult even to contemplate), and the production of amino acids. What is not helpful is the insertion of a supernatural creator, whose methods would still need to be explained.

    5. AndSometimesY expresses an inability to accept evolution. He underestimates the time that nature has had to work on it, and the fact that it is the ‘only game in town’. Evolutionary study isn’t just producing evidence that evolution is true, but also a huge weight of evidence that creation cannot be true. Finally, there is the fact that evolution has actually been observed in laboratory conditions – Richard Lenski.

    Reply
  18. marefin

    Geoff you have just listed a bunch of statements without any scientific evidence , statements of affirmation are not evidence.The head of the British museum of natural history asked the question how can we put archaeopteryx to the test, so tell me how.If its just based on having different animal parts then the duck billed platypus must also be a missing link.
    By the way its called the law of bio-genesis , why the law, because it is a regularity in nature, both in nature and in the lab you get the same results time and time and time again with out fail , you never , ever get life from non life, not ever
    so if thats the case,the scientific evidence , please tell me why anyone would go against the science and say different.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      How does biogenesis have anything to do with transitional fossils? Does not evolution support biogenesis, life coming from life?

      No one know how life began, well except fundamentalists who quote Genesis. In his beat down of Ken Ham, Bill Nye admitted we don’t know. But not knowing doesn’t equal the Christian God.

      So, let’s agree life comes from life. Explain/give evidence for your contention that this life came from the Christian God of the Bible? If a person had no access to the Bible, would they naturally come to the conclusion that life comes from the Christian God? Why should we accept that your God is the life giver and not any of the other gods of human history?

      You see Marfin, saying life comes from life gets us no closer to your God being the giver of that life. You have zero evidence for this, right? Outside of quoting the Bible, you can give no evidence for your conclusion. Shouldn’t we not be able to test your hypothesis? How would we go about doing so? Please provide the methodology you would use to test your contention that the Christian God is the giver/creator of life?

      Or just cry FAITH and we can stop discussing this.

      Human knowledge is incomplete. We are still learning. In fact, there is likely far more that we don’t know than we do know. Unlike those who are bound by theological constructs and the Bible, those of us who embrace the scientific method are free to test, reject, test, reject, always learning. So far, evolution best explains the biological world. Unlike theology which hasn’t had an original thought in centuries, science continues to ask questions, probe, test, re-test, etc. Who knows, maybe we’ll run into a deity some day. For now, there is no evidence for the existence of your God, Marfin. (But, by all means please show me I am wrong about your God)

      Reply
    2. Geoff

      Abiogenesis is the process of life arising from non-living matter. There is a long way to go, from what I read, but we are on the path toward an understanding of the process. What scientists working in the field appear reasonably confident of is that there is nothing supernatural to it.

      Having said which, the post was about evolution, which is an entirely different subject.

      Reply
      1. marfin

        Once again statements are not evidence , try that in a court of law , please find the defendant guilty as we are very close to finding the evidence we need to convict him. To say biogenesis is not part of evolution is a nonsense ,as no life no evolution, and if after the big bang all there was was hydrogen gas please tell me by what process did we get to humans, or what do you call the process from hydrogen gas to people.Its just the evolutionist looking not to deal with the science which points to life being needed for life and a chicken and egg situation at every turn.Read some of the statement of honest scientists on this matter , and not those who have funding to protect, “if I just get another 10 million dollars to carry on my research I am sure we will find out how life came from non life, anyone want to buy the Brooklyn Bridge.

        Reply
  19. marfin

    You can have the last comment after this Bruce. You are right our scientific knowledge is incomplete so people should not make definite pronouncements, when their knowledge is incomplete , because with this incomplete knowledge they tell us we came from a cloud of hydrogen gas , and we are expected to accept what they say but what they are saying has no basis in scientific fact.
    Now Bruce you say you trust these scientist`s due to their years of diligent study, well tell me when you were a Pastor how many people would have said I truce Bruce , he has a vast Bible Knowledge based on years of diligent study , Bruce is honest, faithful, hard working and a real student of the scriptures sure why would you not trust him. Now we know you did not deliberately mislead anyone , but were they right to trust you, re the bible being Gods word and there being a God to begin with .Can you not see the contradiction in you then, trusting mere man with such an important issue.As for me I am not a scientist nor a mathematician but I know one and one makes two, and I know when I am being sold a pig in a poke.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      I know of no scientist who has made an absolute statement about the beginning of life. They theorize but they do not speak in absolute terms. Only religion speaks in unchangeable, untestable absolutes.

      You say should we trust something so important to men (humans). Who else are you going to trust? Even the Bible you say is God’s words was written and shaped by humans. I know you think God wrote it but again there is no evidence or proof for such a claim.

      In the realm of human knowledge and understanding, we trust our fellow humans. You ask were the people I pastored right in trusting me? Sure, I was intellectually diligent in my instruction and the things I said affirmed and strengthened their faith.

      Reply
  20. marfin

    Sorry Bruce one last comment , then last comment is yours . How were they right to trust you , when according to you now, you were telling them thing which you now believe are completely false.You now say the complete opposite of what you once said, now every man has the right to change his mind , but the people you pastored were wrong to trust you, as were teaching them fairy tales .

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      As with everything in life, we judge according to the evidence available at the time. What I am now has no bearing on what I was and did then. Like with evolution, we all change, adapt, and evolve.

      Reply

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