Tim Gilleand Asks: How Can All Those Scientists be Wrong? 

bible vs evolution

Recently, Tim Gilleand wrote a blog post titled How Can All Those Scientists be Wrong? In his post, Gilleand argues that creationists and scientists both have the same data and that the difference is how that information is interpreted. Gilleand writes:

I believe that the scientific method requires that all evidence must be interpreted before a conclusion is drawn.  My issue is not with the evidence itself, it is with the interpretation stage.  I believe that scientists interpret the evidence through a worldview filter.  Their worldview filter includes their personal beliefs about how the world does or does not operate.  For example, if I believe there is no supernatural influence in the world and everything continues on the way and the rate at which it always has, then I am going to interpret something like radiometric decay or geology much differently than someone who believes God has intervened in this world at various points in our early history.

Let’s look at a couple examples…

If God really created Adam on the literal sixth day of creation – how old do you think he might look on day 7?  Was he a full grown man?  30… maybe 40?  But the truth is he is only one day old.  He was created fully mature and able to sustain himself.  Now apply that concept to the rest of creation.  If God really created the world in six days fully mature and self-sustaining – how might that affect the apparent age of the earth?  And how might that affect our research if we left out that concept?  Might we come to a much different conclusion?  I think so.  The point is evidence like radiometric dating the age of the earth doesn’t rule out a special creation because things still might appear older than they truly are and yet that would still be in line Biblicaly (sic).

But isn’t that a deceptive God??  I hear this all the time.  No, it’s not.  Perhaps God never intended us to study the age of the earth while ignoring his revelation about how He did it!  Not God’s deception, human ignorance.

As for geology, we have to look at what might have happened had Noah’s flood actually covered and destroyed the whole world as the Bible seems to imply.  Take the layers at the Grand Canyon.  Two schools of thought: either a little bit of water (the Colorado River) over a long period of time (millions of years) OR a lot of water (the flood) over a little period of time.  The same evidence, different conclusions based on different interpretations that are dependent on our worldview assumptions.

Is the difference between creationists and scientists really a matter of worldview? Is it, as Gilleand says, a matter of how one interprets the world? Creationists would love for this to be true, but doing science requires no particular worldview. Some scientists are devout Christians, yet they come to the same conclusions as their non-Christian colleagues. It is the creationist alone who allows his worldview to radically alter his view of scientific data.

The argument Gilleand is trying to make is that creationists and scientists alike have a starting point from which they begin their investigations While this is, to some degree true, let me demonstrate the difference between the starting points of creationists and scientists. Scientists begin with what we know, the collective body of knowledge we call science. This body of knowledge changes often, as scientists continue to make new discoveries and test currently held scientific ideas. Any student of the modern scientific era knows that science has radically adapted and changed as new information is brought forth. Things that were once considered settled facts are later, thanks to the diligent work of scientists, shown to be wrong. This is why the scientific method is vitally important to our understanding of the universe and the future of all life. It is a self-correcting way of understanding the world.

Creationists, on the other hand, do not start with the collective body of knowledge we call science. Their starting point begins not with science at all, but with a literalist, Fundamentalist interpretation of the Christian Bible. Gilleand admits this when he says:

As a Christian, I believe God does and has intervened in our world.  I also believe the Bible is a historical, reliable account of the creation of the world.

….

We believe we have additional information in the revealed word of God – therefore we see our starting assumptions as more reliable than fallible human intellect because it comes straight from God who was there, observed it, and doesn’t lie.

For creationists like Gilleand, their interpretation of the world begins not with what they can see and know, but with what unknown authors wrote in an ancient religious text thousands of years ago. Creationists are less than honest when they say that the issue is how the scientific data is interpreted. No matter WHAT science says, creationists will always retreat to faith and their literalistic interpretation of the Bible. Non-creationists know that the universe is billions of years old. How do we know this? Science. While scientists continue to study the universe, creationists have no need to do so. Their minds are made up: God created the universe in six literal 24 hours says, 6,020 years ago. None of what science tells us about the universe ultimately matters to the creationist. Why? To put it simply, the BIBLE SAYS.

For these reasons, I have long suggested that it is generally a waste of time to argue matters of science with creationists. The issue is not one of science, but theology. This is why when creationists comment on this blog, I ignore their anti-science rantings and instead attack their beliefs about the inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility of the Bible. Once inerrancy and literalism fall, the argument for creationism is over. This is why, a few years back, when Gilleand stopped by this blog to wage war with the Evangelical preacher-turned-atheist, I attacked his view of the Bible. Gilleand ultimately retreated to the house of faith, safe from the assault of the evil, Christ-denying atheist.

If creationists want their understanding of the world to be accepted as the prevailing scientific view, then they need to start publishing studies in non-Evangelical peer-reviewed scientific journals. Why don’t creationists do this? Surely, if it is self-evident that creationism is true and just a matter of properly interpreting the scientific data, science journals should be filled with studies and papers by creationist scientists. Yet, year after year no studies or papers are forthcoming. The creationist answer for this is that there is a conspiracy by non-creationist scientists to keep creationists from publishing. Their evidence for this? None. If the evidence for creationism is overwhelming, then the science community will grudgingly admit they were wrong and embrace the creationist interpretation of the data. Of course, the creationist, at this point, responds, right, these scientists are unsaved. They don’t believe in the existence of the Christian God, nor do they believe that the Bible is a supernatural, authoritative text. So then, it really is all about theology, not science?

…a new apologetics ministry based in Northern Indiana.  Our mission stems from the verse found in Colossians 4:6 (NIV) – “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” We have formed this ministry to combat modern secularist tendencies to pull people (often times including Christians) away from the accurate original Biblical message. We will discuss hot topics ranging from creation vs. evolution, homosexuality, abortion, modern politics, the supposed separation of church and state, often-cited inaccuracies in the Scriptures, end times, and much more.  We aim to make our posts informative, researched from both sides of the aisle, and considerate of opposing views (grace) but firm in our stance (salt).

You see, even for Gilleand, it is not about the science. It is all about apologetics, the defending of the Fundamentalist Christian view of the world. In Gilleand’s eyes, everything begins and ends with the Christian God and the Bible. Gilleand’s literalistic interpretation of the Bible becomes a box in which everything must fit. (please see The Danger of Being in a Box and Why it Makes Sense When You Are in It and  What I Found When I Left the Box) While Gilleand has convinced himself that he has “researched from both sides of the aisle” and considered “opposing views”, his “firm stance” never changes. This is Fundamentalism at its finest: No matter what, I believe. While Gilleand thinks of himself as being open-minded, the fact is he is only willing to consider data that neatly fits within his box. Any data outside of this box is rejected, labeled as being contrary to the Christian God and the Bible.

There is no hope of reaching people who thinks like this. Try as you might to reach them, their minds are walled off from anything that contradicts or challenges their worldview. For them, the lines are clearly drawn, and no amount of argument will change their minds. Until Fundamentalists are willing to venture past the lines they have drawn, there is no possible way for someone like me to move them away from their ill-informed, ignorant view of the world.

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57 Comments

  1. Karen the rock whisperer

    I find creationists tiresome in the extreme. They tend to operate with a very superficial view of science, have no understanding of the scientific method, and cherry-pick data to support their biblical conclusions. I’m interested in science education, and my take is that USians are a woefully undereducated bunch where basic science is concerned. Creationists muddy things and make it even harder to establish basic science literacy.

    This state of affairs wouldn’t matter, except that we’re theoretically a democracy, and we do a lot better when our voters are educated and can understand issues like pollution, fracking, resource management, etc. We do much better as a society when people can get their minds around the value of vaccines, the dangers of antibiotic resistance, and the reality of and evidence for climate change. But understanding those issues requires understanding the basics of science.

    Reply
  2. Angiep

    As Neil deGrasse Tyson so eloquently reminds us in this video, it is humanity’s intellectual capacity that brought us out of the caves, and the anti-intellectual movement that seems to be gaining momentum has the potential to drive us back in.

    Reply
  3. Geoff

    I’d take issue with the assertion that science rejects God, or the supernatural generally. It doesn’t. It’s simply that it has never once been necessary in recent times to invoke the supernatural into scientific theories.

    To complete this comment I think it’s fair to mention Isaac Newton. He was a brilliant mathematician and scientist, but his calculations were unable to account for the exact movement of the planets in the solar system, and their inherent stability. He put this down to the influence of God. Einstein showed that Newton had been wrong, or rather built relativity into the equations, demonstrating that there was no supernatural involvement in the planetary movement. Generally since Darwin no scientist (reputable, hence discounting the intelligent design bunch) has attempted to invoke God in stating a theory, and no theory has been found wanting as a result.

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    1. Marfin

      Reputable , try Ernst Boris Chain and Werner Von Braun , tens of millions of us would not be alive without Chain who called Darwinism a fairy tale, and we would have never made it to the moon without Braun who saw a creator as self evident. Now please state a scientist as reputable as these who support evolution , and please not theorists like Krauss, De grasse Tyson, or Harris et al

      Reply
      1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

        Go away, Marfin. You have worn out your welcome.

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      2. Geoff

        Both scientists long since dead, not specialists in evolution, and both very misguided. Perfect examples of scientists who ‘leave their reason at the door of their church every Sunday’.

        As for reputable scientists who support evolution; well it’s simply a list of every reputable scientist, less the odd crank such as you’ve mentioned. However, two that come to mind are Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne. Both are highly eminent and would have mauled your two guys in debate, if the latter weren’t long since dead of course.

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  4. marfin

    No problem Bruce its great to see you have just moved to another box, I shall comment no more.

    Reply
  5. Ashley Haworth-Roberts

    You will be unsurprised to learn that Gilleand is censoring my polite comments pointing out how his belief is anti-scientific and dogmatic wishful thinking.

    Ashley Haworth-Roberts

    Reply
  6. Tim Gilleand

    I’ve noticed that when each person takes an issue with this approach, they never take the time to actually defend uniformitarianism. That’s the basis of this argument. Either things in the unseen past happened uniformly (as they do today) or were interrupted/formed rapidly at some point. If you think about God and the Bible actually doesn’t make much of a difference to that debate. Some have that debate today in the secular literature. Yes, consensus sides with uniformity due to modern observances – but that doesn’t exclude catastrophism. In other words you cant tell me I’m a foolish creationist who ignores evidence because its not about that. Your conclusions make sense given your starting assumptions (uniformitarianism) and my conclusions make sense given my starting assumptions. That’s all.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      I don’t think I mentioned science at all. The issue is your errant interpretation of the Bible. Your presuppositions about the Bible lead you to interpret scientific data a certain way. The overwhelming majority of scientists come to different conclusions than you because they are not burdened with your faulty presuppositions. They are free to follow the evidence wherever its leads. You can not do so because you are forced to maintain a literalistic hermeneutic and interpretation of the Bible. You are foolish, then, because you let religious dogma impede your understanding of science.

      Let me be clear, Tim, as I was the last time we talked: your problem is the Bible. Until you are willing to take a hard look at the Bible itself, you will ALWAYS be wrong about science. Disabuse you of the notion that the Bible is an inspired, inerrant, and infallible text, and your errant beliefs about creation, the flood, etc are resolved. Once you see that Genesis is nothing more than a collection of mythical stories, written centuries ago by unknown men who had zero understanding of science, you will then be in the position to think critically about evolution, geology,archaeology, history, and cosmology (to name a few). As it stands now, you are an Fundamentalist apologist not a scientist.

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      1. Tim Gilleand

        Yes, my presuppositions about the Bible have me interpret the evidence towards creationism. But what you are not admitting is that your presuppositions (naturalism/uniformitarianism) force you to interpret the evidence towards an old earth and evolution. You are pointing me out as the person who uses presuppositions to interpret evidence, but my entire point is that we ALL do that.

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        1. Ashley Haworth-roberts

          Just seen. “what you are not admitting is that your presuppositions (naturalism/uniformitarianism) force you to interpret the evidence towards an old earth and evolution”. Manipulative creationists are forever trying to get their opponents to admit to things that are not true. It is the evidence itself which cannot be rationally or honestly made to support a ‘young’ Earth and equally ‘young’ universe. It is nothing whatsoever to do with ‘presuppositions’ (only to do with what has already been discovered by the scientific method). Nothing. Alleging a sort of non-YEC tunnel vision with respect to evidence is simply cover for YEC HUBRIS that their ‘science’ is on a par with everyone else’s and should be taken very seriously. Poppycock. No wonder they cannot get their ideas into reputable scientific journals,

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        2. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

          Here’s the difference. Your presuppositions are rooted in ignorance and religious dogma. While scientists can certainly be stubborn, they are, in the end, willing to follow the evidence wherever it leads. Right now there are scientists working to overthrow virtually every accepted scientific principle. These assaults either weaken, destroy, or strengthen the principles. No principle is sacrosanct. Please point me to any creationist who is actively working on overthrowing the notion that the Christian God created the world in six 24 hours days, 6,020 years ago. Please point me to the “plethora” of Evangelical papers and studies published in non-Evangelical peer reviewed journals. Please share with me the groundbreaking work done by creationists to overthrow any of the principles of biology, cosmology, or geology. I shan’t wait long, Tim, because I know such things do not exist.

          Until you remove the Bible from your interpretive grid you will not understand science. You have convinced yourself that you are going science, when in fact you are, as your website states, doing apologetics (the defending of the Fundamentalist interpretation of the the Bible). You are not a scientist and neither am I. The difference between us it that I am willing to admit my ignorance. I put my trust in scientific experts, men and women who have devoted their lives to science. I continue to read and study, hoping to improve my understanding of the world (an understanding that was crippled my beliefs such has yours). That said, Christianity, theology, especially from the Evangelical perspective, IS my specialty. This is why I try to get people like you to focus in the Bible, not the science. If I can disabuse you of your errant view of the Bible, matters of science will take care of themselves. That said, there are people who frequent this blog who are more than qualified to deal with your Fundamentalist interpretation of science. Too bad you blew one such person off on your blog.

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        3. Geoff

          Sorry to be blunt, but saying that you ‘interpret the evidence towards creationism’ is absolute rubbish. You are doing nothing of the sort, you are “ignoring” the evidence so as to favour creationism.

          Then, presumably embarrassed by your own lack of a credible position, you seek to impute your approach on that of science and scientists, by saying that they are predisposed to believe evolution. What? That’s like saying scientists are predisposed to believe in gravity, or in planetary motion, or in sickle cell anaemia; they aren’t predisposed to believing these things, they have no alternative because that’s where the evidence leads.

          I wish, for once, that a creationist would acknowledge the overwhelming volume of evidence for evolution; then explain why it’s wrong. Not look for some tiny seeming anomaly that appears hard to explain, not that it usually is.

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          1. Tim Gilleand

            I have always stated that yes, the evidence does appear to confirm an old earth and evolution IF interpreted through the lens of uniformitarianism beliefs. That’s kicker and that is the explanation of why I believe they are wrong. I am doing exactly what you are asking for.

          2. Ashley Haworth-roberts

            Gilleand at 6.04 pm is ignoring my comment at 5.44 pm. How was it wrong?

        4. Becky Wiren

          Your presuppositions require you to start with the Bible as perfect, and creation as a given. Real scientists don’t start with a conclusion they have to get to. Sorry. They may postulate a conclusion, but use science to determine if the conclusion is true or false. You can’t tell me ANY creationist does that. Instead, you start with the conclusion that the Bible MUST be correct, and go from there. So you MUST oppose uniformitarianism. This is not science.

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    2. gimpi1

      Well, I can address uniformitarianism.

      No geologist is strictly uniformitarian. All geologists understand that many of the earth’s features are the result of catastrophic events. The Siberian Traps, the Deccan Traps, the scars of repeated ice ages and thaws, the repeated line of resurgent caldera eruptions that mark the Snake River Valley, the signs of repeated Toba, Santorini and Krakatoa eruptions, the signs of large-scale asteroid strikes, all this is in the geologic record. The thing is, there is nowhere enough time for all these catastrophic events to have occurred with a young-earth. The events may be catastrophic, but the recovery takes time. Time for the lava to erode, the crater to fill, plants to recolonize scarred land. By pretending that modern geology doesn’t allow for catastrophic events, you are being dishonest.

      And no, as I said below, I’m not a geologist. I just married one. You pick things up. Mostly rocks, but I digress.

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      1. Tim Gilleand

        Yes, I understand that not all things are considered uniformly, I just use that as a majority perspective. Catastrophic determinations are the outliers, not the norm. I find it ironic that your comment is battling against uniformity, and then mentioning that “it takes time to recover”. How do you know? Because it takes that long to recover NOW? That is a uniforitarian conclusion. You are exampling my point.

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        1. Ashley Haworth-roberts

          Recovery from the events described does indeed take more time than people like you insist Earth has existed.

          And these were YOUR words in your blog:
          “If Genesis is true and the world was created rapidly, altered following original sin, and destroyed during the flood – uniformitarainism [sic] fails, and so does all conclusions that follow from that assumption.”
          “The conclusions of an old earth and evolution rely on the worldview assumptions of naturalism and specifically uniformitarianism being absolutly [sic] true and unchangeable.”

          But you never let facts get in the way of a ‘biblical’ narrative. A narrative that arbitrarily rules out other things, however much evidence there is in their favour, as unseen and contrary to the Bible – and thus ‘impossible’.

          Reply
  7. Ashley Haworth-roberts

    https://gracesalt.wordpress.com/2016/01/29/how-can-all-those-scientists-be-wrong/#comments
    Gilleand destroyed my opening comment here (I did not save it because his usual dodge is to lave it on-screen but unmoderated). Now he is trying to manipulate the conversation by censoring what I ACTUALLY wrote and then telling his other readers that I was ‘wrong’ to say he is anti-science and making in addition a (meaningless) accusation that everyone else (funny how he insists that does not include him) is anti-science. But what he is pushing is a form of religion that hates what the scientific method has discovered.
    I am posting this here because Gilleand would censor it at his own page. He has a disreputable history of manipulating conversations under his past blog posts in HIS favour by silent or acknowledged censorship (as I have documented in detail at the BCSE community forum).

    In his typo riddled blog post Gilleand arbitrarily sought to replace what he seemed to believe was ‘absolute’ uniformitarianism with “with the assumption of catastrophism of history” (because the scientific method definitely does not confirm biblical timescales and despite the fact that any huge ‘recent’ worldwide flood could not affect radioactive decay rates). Bruce’s blog points out how for Gilleand and co it is all about apologetics and theology not science (also so-called ‘worldview’ which simply means they insist the Bible is infallible even on scientific matters). Tim’s comment above merely claims that it’s all about uniformitarianism versus catastrophism – that’s a complete red herring and no real scientists are solely wedded to the one or the other.

    Gilleand and other young earth creationists do not challenge the scientific consensus with valid alternative interpretations of evidence. Rather they seek to redefine ‘science’, abolish all scientific knowledge they don’t like, and start ‘science’ again from scratch – a ‘science’ that MUST conform to ‘the Bible’ (as literally interpreted in a manner of their own decree). The only people that makes sense to is young earth creationist ideologues.

    Reply
  8. Ashley Haworth-roberts

    PS When I say ‘destroyed’ I mean he did NOT refute its contents but simply zapped it so as to act as if it did not exist (I should have saved it because these people cannot be trusted).

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  9. gimpi1

    “Two schools of thought: either a little bit of water (the Colorado River) over a long period of time (millions of years) OR a lot of water (the flood) over a little period of time. The same evidence, different conclusions based on different interpretations that are dependent on our worldview assumptions.”

    Well, here’s the thing, these supposed two schools are not equal. One actually fits with the known facts, and one does not. Large floods scar the land in quite different ways than river erosion, and we can tell the difference. For example, compare the Grand Canyon with the Grand Coolie in Washington state, carved by repeated catastrophic floods when ice dams burst or were overtopped at the ice-age giant lake, Lake Missoula. The scaring is quite different than you see from the carving of, for example Niagara Falls. That scarring is quite different than you see in the Grand Canyon. Geologists have studied this, and can tell the difference.

    One of these two interpretations fits the physical evidence. One does not. Here’s a hint, the one that doesn’t fit uses the Noah story.

    No, I’m not a geologist, but I married one. You pick things up. Mostly rocks. Lots of rocks.

    Reply
    1. Tim Gilleand

      We’ve never been able to observe worldwide catastrophe. How can you say it wouldn’t do what happened at the Grand Canyon? There is a big difference between a localized catastophe and a worldwide calamity. I would expect layer upon layer of sediment to be laid down on top of each other as different waves combined in one location over the year long flood. I would expect them to become hardened as the flood slowly receded probably over several years or decades.

      Earth’s Catastrophic Past by Dr. Andrew Snelling is a two-volume, 1100 page explanation of flood geology. My answers are very, very, very basic in comparison with that. Don’t write off flood geology based on my simplistic answers. 1100 pages is a lot to fill.

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      1. Geoff

        Sorry Tim but you err on matters of fact, not opinion.

        You are entitled to your opinion, but as to matters that are factually wrong then you can expect to be marginalised.

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  10. Ashley Haworth-roberts

    Does Tim subscribe to the YEC dogma that Noah’s flood was followed by an ‘ice age’ (around 4,000 years ago, despite the lack of any historical record of an ice age at that time – the last real ice glaciation finished more than 10,000 year ago)? If he does would he care to inform us whether that is observational or historical science. And explain how this idea – which comes from science and not from scripture – is ‘not’ science stepping “outside of direct observation and repeatability” (his phrase from his blog).

    My prediction is that he will ignore this post (because of who wrote it) and NOT reply. (He would censor it at his own blog no doubt.)

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    1. Brian

      Ashley, you are dealing here with a fellow who knows the truth because it changed his life. He does not answer to scientific method but to magical thinking. So, if he sees a big canyon and the BIBLE SAYS, then it must have happened like his interpretation of what the BIBLE SAYS… he cannot be shown his error because his arguments are disingenuous, based on belief. It is not that he does not understand science but simply that he denies it as false because GOD.

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      1. Tim Gilleand

        Yes, I interpret the data based on my beliefs. My entire point was that EVERYONE does that. All scientists interpret historical evidence in light of how they BELIEVE the world works.

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        1. Brian

          But scientists are not boasting about magic: When a theory is proven false via scientific method, scientists adopt the proof that best reflects the new knowledge. You are incapable of that… Instead you say, my God is the same as my God was and will ever be and nothing said or unsaid matters.
          If your God yelled at you from his evermore and told you to tie your son to a rock and sacrifice him, you would do this? Why don’t you explain to me how that is perfectly reasonable scripture and how I lack an appreciation for God’s great love? Explain to me how a father does that to honor God and how God expands your heart and mind to raise that knife in faith. And after you have explained all that (and I am sure you are able to do that) then write me an essay from the mind of the child tied to the rock. Tell me how you feel as your dad talks to the sky. Take your time and make every effort to remember what it was like to be a little boy. Can you do that? Gee thanks. Maybe you can use the word, ‘belief’ with regard to dad, could you? And how facts, as they appear to an average guy, a dad like me, really mislead me from the brilliant truth in the story of faith in God, something I would know like you if only I would believe in God first.
          Simple, obvious facts are distasteful to you. What that man did to his son forever excludes him from reaoanable approval. He set aside his familial, his fatherly love to serve the magic man. And then, poof, the magic man said he was only kidding to test belief, to test faith. How do you tolerate such abusive ideas?

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          1. Tim Gilleand

            I have a worldview that this life and this world is not all there is. You fear the knife and the possible end of things because that is all there is – that is taking away everything. In my worldview death is not the end, it is not scary. In my worldview God is in charge and knows what is best. I don’t get angry at Him for flooding the world and killing all those people because I know He already knew all of their eternal destinys, and a few more decades of life vs. an eternity of pain is a no brainer. There lives were already over.

        2. Geoff

          “Yes, I interpret the data based on my beliefs. My entire point was that EVERYONE does that. All scientists interpret historical evidence in light of how they BELIEVE the world works.”

          Tim, you have created a new concept called ‘interpretive conclusions’.

          Why I am quite sure you are so wrong is precisely because you are right! Yes completely correct! Everyone has some form of bias and, unfortunately, as regards religious belief there is nothing you can do about it. If there were you would lose your belief. You have to rely on interpretation, as you concede.

          Science doesn’t work that way. Or rather, it seeks to address the problem, which it fully recognises. It does this because science progresses by peer challenge. If I publish a paper in which I present results of a study I’ve conducted, other scientists try and pick it apart. If there are flaws they will be spotted. If my job involves having a vested interest in the outcome, the challenges will be even greater (which is why intelligent design ‘science’ has been so thoroughly discredited). Science recognises bias exists and can’t be completely removed at individual level. It has, however, successfully addressed how it can be dealt with at an industry level.

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          1. Tim Gilleand

            But you are dancing around my actual issue. Let me restate. Science has no option but to rely on uniformitarianism. It makes sense. Things do work uniformly today. I am disputing whether they ALWAYS have. That is something science cannot determine.

          2. Geoff

            “But you are dancing around my actual issue. Let me restate. Science has no option but to rely on uniformitarianism. It makes sense. Things do work uniformly today. I am disputing whether they ALWAYS have. That is something science cannot determine.”

            I’m not dancing round any issue. You aren’t ‘disputing’ anything, you are speculating as to the very existence of a concept, the opposite of which you refer to as ‘uniformitarianism’. It’s a made up word and a made up concept in an attempt to defend something you can’t otherwise defend.

            But if it makes you happy then go ahead.

          3. Tim Gilleand

            You mean like this uniformitarianism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniformitarianism

        3. Sirius Bizinus

          Hello Tim,

          Your point is incorrect. Scientists must conform hypotheses and their experiments to what they can objectively prove, rather than an arbitrary belief in how the world works. That’s why experiments happen; if no other scientist can repeat the results.

          Science is a lot like cooking. Recipes are experiments. Essentially the writer of a recipe is promising that if one gathers the ingredients and uses them in the manner prescribed, the result will be the target dish. Similarly, if I write a recipe for a cake that only has roast beef as an ingredient, my recipe is useless because it won’t make a cake. People can then reject it as a recipe for cake.

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        4. Professor Tertius

          “Yes, I interpret the data based on my beliefs. My entire point was that EVERYONE does that. ” —- Tim Gilleand

          Of course, Tim MUST keep telling himself that. He knows that he can’t pretend that his reasoning is scientific and sound—-so he must reduce the Scientific Method to a crude, equally subjective exercise in casual thought down to his own level. (He KNOWS that he is not making sense, so he insists everybody else is just as opinionated and prone to nonsense. Ken Ham does the same thing: claiming that BOTH creationism and “evolutionism” is not science.)

          Even so, Tim is very aware—and very afraid—of evidence and scientific analysis. As Ashley pointed out, Tim carefully censors informative posts which risk educating his readers so that those posts are marked as AWAITING MODERATION for years (literally). Yes, my point-by-point exposures of Tim’s lies and obfuscations are still awaiting moderation years later! Does Tim want his readers to see how masterfully he rebuts my shredding of his arguments? No!

          The fact that aggressive censorship is so common on Young Earth Creationist websites is a reminder to all that Tim & friends really do recognize that EVIDENCE MATTERS and that they know that they have good reason to fear it.

          Reply
    2. Tim Gilleand

      Ashley, you know that I have always labeled creation, the fall, the flood, the ice age, the age of the earth, evolution ,etc. as historical science yes. None of the above is observable or repeatable thus it HAS to be labeled historical science. I would use the terms ‘historical science’ and ‘soft science’ interchangeably. They all have elements of science to them, but mix them in with belief and philosophy – all of them. I already admit that. Do you? That’s always been my entire argument. I’m not looking to convert you, just for you to admit that evolution and the age of the earth are soft sciences and hinge on a belief system (just as my creation theory does).

      Reply
      1. Ashley Haworth-roberts

        Tim. Thank you for confirming that you subscribe to a fictional (and unbiblical) ‘recent’ and ‘rapid’ ice age even though this is clearly ‘historical science’ and ‘Man’s idea’ and something nobody alive today has witnessed. Yet YECs like you claim to reject evolution and deep time for the same reason ie it’s Man’s idea and not in the Bible. No they don’t. They reject them because they hate them. Pure and simple.

        I am not going to admit to words you are trying to put into my mouth. Scientists originally had a ‘belief system’ that Noah’s (worldwide) Flood really happened. And that the world was just thousands of years old. Then they changed their minds. They had to. Because of EVIDENCE.

        YOUR soft ‘science’ wilfully ignores the clear meaning of the evidence in question, It starts with “the Bible says”.

        “Things do work uniformly today. I am disputing whether they ALWAYS have. That is something science cannot determine.” Your problem is that not just ‘any’ catastrophism will do. Will it? It has to be arbitrary catastrophism that will somehow suggest that Earth is just 6,000 or so years ie ‘biblically’ young. That is not the scientific method. It is dogma.

        Reply
        1. Brian

          I believe your case is stated correctly, according to scientific method. But Tim does not believe that the method trumps his belief because his belief must be first. He must be willing to give up all of his reason and feelings to God. If he is a Christian, a real one, he must, if God asks, kill his own child to show allegiance. So trying to reason with him is fruitless, on human terms. He does not care about humans first but about the big-guy who remains invisible.

          Reply
      2. arkenaten

        Hey Tim.
        If I may.

        What are your thoughts on the Time Temperature Index where it pertains to oil exploration?

        Can you identify (name ) one Young Earth Creationist geologist that has ever worked/ currently works for a major oil company in the capacity of oil exploration?

        Reply
    3. John Arthur

      Hi Ashley,

      Keep up your good work of critiquing YEC websites. Brian is right in his comments.You probably won’t convince most of these YEC website owners , but you might so seeds of doubt in some of their readers. Although the problem of YEC is primarily theological (inerrancy, infallibility and supreme authority of the bible), showing its complete incompatibility with scientific method and the findings of science might shake some out of their theological stupor. However, the website owners need to be critiqued on their major theological presuppositions before some of them are likely to give ground.Even then, most will still be convinced (by faith) that their theological assumptions are correct and are unlikely to give ground.

      For the sake of children in those religious schools religious schools that teach anti scientific propaganda,and ongoing attempts by Fundamentalists to infiltrate some public schools with their propaganda, please keep up your good work.

      Many thanks,

      John Arthur

      Reply
      1. John Arthur

        Hi Ashley,

        Sorry about the typos.

        “For the sake of children in those religious schools that teach such anti scientific propaganda ….”

        Shalom,

        John Arthur

        Reply
    4. archaeopteryx

      Native Americans occupied the North American continent 13,000 years ago – 9,000 years before the Earth was created (according to theists).

      Reply
      1. archaeopteryx

        A great series, well worth watching —

        Reply
  11. Brian

    Tim said: “I have a worldview that this life and this world is not all there is. You fear the knife and the possible end of things because that is all there is – that is taking away everything. In my worldview death is not the end, it is not scary. In my worldview God is in charge and knows what is best. I don’t get angry at Him for flooding the world and killing all those people because I know He already knew all of their eternal destinys, and a few more decades of life vs. an eternity of pain is a no brainer. There lives were already over.”
    This is the kind of reptilian Christian faith that I find astounding. All you have to do is say GOD, and then anything is okay. Killing off thousands of human beings and telling a dad to knife his own son. Fuck you, Tim.

    Reply
    1. archaeopteryx

      an eternity of pain

      We don’t find a substantial reference to ‘Hell’ as such until after the Babylonian captivity in the 6th century BCE, at the end of which, the Jews were exposed to the Persians (early Iranians) and their worship of Zoroastrianism, with its creator god, Ahura Mazda, who is opposed by the evil Angra Mainyu in an eternal struggle between good and evil – what’s a fascinating yarn without a protagonist and an antagonist, such as Osiris and his twin (evil) brother, Amun of Egypt? It’s a common ancient theme.

      Reply
  12. Charles

    Unfortunately, nice guy that he is, Bruce will not allow me to directly say what I really, deeply, earnestly, and honestly feel about Mr. Gilleand and his ideas, because if I were to write that here, it would contain the words “trailer” and “Wal-Mart.” So, I have to be nice here and refrain from giving Mr. Gilleand the thorough verbal head clouting his ideas about science and the Christian faith so deeply and richly deserve.

    As both a scientist and a Christian, I am really surprised that you folks are having a serious talk about this subject with this Tim Gilleand character. Talking to a Christian fundamentalist about creation and evolution is like trying to have a conversation with a tree stump because:

    1) By definition—talking to an actual tree stump goes nowhere useful.

    2) People who are talking to actual tree stumps look foolish.

    3) Actual tree stumps are not known for their brilliance on any subject.

    Fortunately, the Christian fundamentalist nonsense Mr. Gilleand bases all of his ridiculous pseudo-scientific beliefs on is a dying branch of the Christian faith, and I predict that it will die off almost completely within the next 100 years. This faith vs. science debate will end with it. If Mr. Gilleand would like to see where this battle is heading, he can visit my blog at the link below and plainly see that the rest of Christendom across Planet Earth is getting weary of and angry at all of the bullshit fundies spout and is beginning to engage in militant, active, open warfare against Christian fundamentalism. I would like to emphasize that we are not going to war against the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit―but rather against the evil “ism” (Christian fundamentalism) that Satan created 100 years ago here in the United States to be a stumbling block to people like Mr. Gilleand and to by appearance and association make Christianity as a whole look like a stupid, ignorant, and heartless religion in the eyes of the whole world. Instead, those of us in the wider American Christian community have gone to war against the deceived minions of Satan like Mr. Gilleand, who hold up lies and falsehoods as truth. We are at war against ignorant men—not God. Here is the link to my blog:

    https://faith17983.wordpress.com/

    Speaking as a Christian, I think the creation stories in the Book of Genesis are parables. Despite what Mr. Gilleand might choose to believe, we scientists know for certain that the scientific facts of creation are very different from what the Genesis accounts say. Consequently, we know that these stories are neither true history nor true science―so they must be something else. Personally, I believe the stories in the Book of Genesis are parables (made up fictional stories) that God is using to teach human beings basic spiritual principles. This should not surprise any Christian because Jesus makes it quite clear in the New Testament that the “parable” is one of his most preferred teaching methods. Christian fundamentalists, sitting on the throne of God in his place and playing God (as they usually do), will not permit Jesus to tell a parable in the Book of Genesis. God went ahead and told the parables in the Book of Genesis anyway, and as my deceased friend Patricia Cridlebaugh used to say: “Well, that’s just tough darts for them!!!”

    The Christian fundamentalist notion that the stories in Genesis are literal, true historical and scientific accounts is a direct product of their belief in Biblical “inerrantism,” which is actually a rather new belief that was born with Christian fundamentalism itself in the Great Lakes Region of the United States in the early 20th century. Biblical inerrantism is a human idea that has been imposed on the Bible from outside of it by the Christian fundamentalists as part of their historically silly “Save the Bible Program.” Once again, about 100 years ago, the fundies kicked God off his throne, sat down on it in his place, and said to him:

    “Look here. Despite what you say, your word actually could pass away. Obviously, you are not doing a very good job of protecting the Bible Mr. God, so we are going to do the job for you—you worthless incompetent.”

    One of my favorite Ministers of the Gospel is the Reverend Keith Ward. Below I present two video lectures where Reverend Ward rips the whole notion of Biblical inerrantism to shreds and uses the Bible to do it. One of his deepest areas of interest and areas of study is the interface between science and religion. Get a load of his credentials below (not exactly Possum Wallow Baptist Church), and watch the two video lectures right after it below. These are academic lectures—not sermons.

    Reverend Keith Ward (born August 22, 1938) is a British philosopher, theologian, priest and scholar. He is a fellow of the British Academy and a priest of the Church of England. He was a canon of Christ Church, Oxford until 2003. Comparative theology and the relationship between science and religion are two of his main topics of interest. He was Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Oxford from 1991 to 2004. Ward graduated in 1962 with a B.A. from the University of Wales and from 1964 to 1969 was a lecturer in logic at the University of Glasgow. He earned a B. Litt. from Linacre College, Oxford in 1968. From 1969 to 1971 he was Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of St Andrews. In 1972, he was ordained as a priest in the Church of England. From 1971 to 1975 he was Lecturer in Philosophy of Religion at the University of London. From 1975 to 1983, he was Dean of Trinity Hall, Cambridge. He was appointed the F. D. Maurice Professor of Moral and Social Theology at the University of London in 1982, Professor of History and Philosophy of Religion at King’s College London in 1985 and Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Oxford in 1991, a post from which he retired in 2004. In 1992, Ward was a visiting professor at the Claremont Graduate University in California. In 1993–94, he delivered the prestigious Gifford Lectures at the University of Glasgow. He was the Gresham Professor of Divinity between 2004 and 2008 at Gresham College, London. Ward is on the council of the Royal Institute of Philosophy and is a member of the editorial boards of Religious Studies, the Journal of Contemporary Religion, Studies in Inter-Religious Dialogue and World Faiths Encounter. He is a member of the board of governors of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. He has also been a visiting professor at Drake University, Iowa, and at the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Ward has M.A. and D.D. degrees from both Cambridge and Oxford Universities, and an honorary D.D. from the University of Glasgow (Verbatim Text from Wikipedia 2015 [Slightly Edited]).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9EhYVt-dyw

    Reply
    1. arkenaten

      Interesting, Charles.

      You vehemently castigate Tim for his beliefs and are proud to tell us you are a Christian – and a scientist.

      And yet you believe a man walked on water, turned water into wine and came back from the dead and providing you admit to being a worthless sinner and this Jesus of Nazareth character is the Creator of the Universe your eternal soul is safe!

      If Tim is a ”Tree Stump” may I ask which part of the Tree you sincerely consider yourself to be?

      Ark.

      Reply
      1. Charles

        Thank you Mr. A-hole.

        Religion is entirely about faith. You know that. It is an opinion strongly felt and held as a heartfelt thing that cannot be empirically tested or proven. The problem with Mr. Gilleand and his clinging to the myth of YEC is that a very great deal of what he believes has been proven to be just plain factually wrong in very specific terms. There is no use butting one’s ahead against a wall when the evidence right in front of one’s own nose clearly indicates that their particular interpretation or understanding of the Bible is just plain wrong.

        Reply
        1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

          If “Religion is entirely about faith. You know that. It is an opinion strongly felt and held as a heartfelt thing that cannot be empirically tested or proven” then why do you object to Gilleand’s beliefs? Are you not setting up your beliefs against his and making an objective judgment as to which beliefs are true?

          As an atheist, I find your beliefs much less harmful than the Fundamentalists, but I don’t consider either to be true. If we are forced to have a cultural religion then I am certainly going to choose yours. But, I would rather live in a world free of religion.

          Reply
        2. arkenaten

          There is no use butting one’s ahead against a wall when the evidence right in front of one’s own nose clearly indicates that their particular interpretation or understanding of the Bible is just plain wrong.

          So just how much leeway are you, the obviously clever and intelligent one among us, prepared to give your religion?

          If you consider Gilleand’s version risible yours is, in effect, equally as bad. A smelly little itinerant 1st century rabbi coming back from the dead? Are you serious? What sort of moron willingly believes such nonsense?

          In fact your ”soft version” which, I presume accepts an Old Earth but still incorporates a Creator at some point is even more ridiculous.

          At least Tim is simply a full-blown indoctrinated Head Case, likely in need of a psyche evaluation and should not be allowed near kids

          You on the other hand are not only a head case but a hypocritical son of a bitch as well, and try to wheedle your way to a position of respectability – ”I am a scientist” – (Big frigging whoop!) while still holding on to superstitious crap that you willing pass on to kids and any poor sucker that will listen to the diatribe you too have accepted as ”real”.

          There is plenty of empirical evidence that refutes that rag called the bible.
          Start at the beginning and work through.

          Your precious New Testament is as bogus a collection of gag-awful nonsense as one is likely to find.

          Oh, and as for your charming and super funny” A- hole” remark;

          May I suggest you pull your bottom lip over your head and swallow. you pathetic ignoramus?

          Ark

          Reply
          1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            Please keep the punching above the belt.

            Thanks.

            Bruce

  13. Geoff

    Of course you have to dismiss the fundamentalist views of Tim Gilleand as to do otherwise is perverse. The views he espouses are accepted as silly, and so traditional, more considered Christianity, must distance itself if it is to be taken seriously.

    This doesn’t mean that Christianity is in any way off the hook. In your comment you refer to the trinity, to Satan, and to biblical inerrancy. Whilst you attempt to re-write the bible to suit the worldview you have adopted, you nevertheless assume it to be largely true and, presumably, actually inspired by God. I, however, am confident that the bible is entirely man made, written over long periods of time, and for purposes known only to the writers. Equally, Satan and the trinity are constructs of human imagination.

    Keith Ward appears a well qualified theologian but, then again, many homeopaths are well qualified, but qualified only in woo. There is no compatibility between science and religion. Their very natures conflict in that science begins with observation and looks to find evidence based conclusions, whereas religion starts with a conclusion and works backwards looking for evidence. Many scientists are, of course, devout believers (though amongst ‘elite’ scientists the proportion is just 7%) but, to quote Jerry Coyne, ‘they leave their reason at the church door each Sunday’. Organisations such as the Templeton Foundation are obsessed with ‘accommodationism’, trying desperately to spread a message that religion and science work together, but scientists are increasingly distancing themselves from these types of propaganda.

    There has been a tradition of saying that religion answers those questions that science can’t. Well that’s where your comment started, that creationism was invented before we knew about religion. In reality, everything we ‘know’ we have learnt from science (interpreting science broadly). I have yet to hear of any answer that religion has been able to provide.

    Reply
    1. Geoff

      Edit to comment above: last word in pen penultimate sentence (…’before we knew about religion’). Religion should read ‘evolution’.

      Reply
  14. arkenaten

    Please keep the punching above the belt.

    Thanks.

    Bruce

    I’m curious. What tipped the scales, Bruce? I notice you didn’t immediately jump in after dear Charles wrote his ”A-Hole” remark.

    Reply
    1. Peter

      Feeling victimised Ark?

      Reply
      1. arkenaten

        Absolutely! I shall write to my congressman … or congresswoman … Except I am not in the US of Eh? and don’t have one, so I am stymied.
        Perhaps I should pray, instead and ask Yahweh to smite ’em!
        😉

        Reply

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