Sunday, December 17, 2006

Redeeming Science; A god centered approach - Vern Poythress

- you can find a link for the pdf. if you scroll down a bit. (This is a book of over 300 pages.)

- I have a lot of problems with this book and can't recommend it as more than a basic introduction to the subject. He apparently wants to defend the bible by dumbing it downplease everyone; and will likely end up pleasing no one.
- chapter five is a good short summary of the basic creation models that attempt to explain the first two chapters of Genesis. Chapter six however is full of errors and misguided thinking. Chapter nine is a travesty, as he tries to prove the Noahic flood was only local. (He goes so far as to claim the water that covered Mt. Ararat was probably snow!)

Quotes and comments;

1. ''Moreover, Genesis 1. , addressed to people who lived long after the flood, needs to be interpreted in a way that makes sense to these people. They did not have an elaborate scientific theory about the pre-flood world.''
- Gen. 1. wasn't specifically addressed to people who lived long after the Flood. This is the humanist view. In my view Gen. 1. was first revealed to Adam; whose account of it was handed down the generations.
- P. says gen. 1 needs to be interpreted in a way that makes sense to post flood people. Here he contradicts what he's just said; that gen 1. was written in such a way to make sense to everyone, everywhere, in all times.
- P. says 'they did not have an elaborate (what's elaborate?) scientific theory about the pre-flood world.'' Really? How does he know this. It's a fact that 99.99 percent of everything written (not to mention thought or talked about) in the early post flood days has been lost. (This is the argument from silence fallacy.) In fact I'm sure they had a lot of 'theories' about why the flood happened. It's hard for me to imagine they didn't. (The astronomical observatories that flourished at this time are strong evidence there was a lot of sophisticated inquiry into this cataclysmic event.)
- this is speculation; but I think the fact the brief mention of 'waters above the heavens/expanse' survived in the manuscripts may well have been due to speculations about the flood, that may have been quite similar to what H. Morris et al have postulated. ie. did the 'canopy' collapse? where did all the water come from? etc.
- it's fairly clear to me that post flood people tried to use astronomy as a way of predicting cataclysmic events. The idea they were all clueless idiots is a humanist invention; spread by people who want to give the greeks the credit for everthing.

2. "Genesis 1–3, as we have indicated, does not build on the polytheistic stories but rather repudiates them."
- once again P. is wrong. Because the creation account that we call genesis was given first of all it doesn't directly repudiate anything... rather it affirms. There was no other model. Creation accounts like the babylonian are in fact repudiations of the genesis account... coming many centuries (if not millenia) after.

3. "There is no foundation for the conjecture which some have made, that there are waters deposited above the four elements; and when the Psalmist speaks of these waters as being above, he clearly points at the descent of the rain.'' - J. Calvin
- well I have a lot of respect for calvin; but he's not right on everything... and here he's wrong.
- there most certainly is room here for conjecture. One can get ideas on which to formulate scientific hypotheses from anywhere; from the bible, poetry, nature, anything. (The people who imagine a canopy aren't declaring absolute truth; they're doing science... specifically trying to explain the long ages of the pre-flood patriarchs.)
- the fact is that water (lots of it) has been detected well above the clouds, high in the atmosphere. (Not to mention water on other planets; including the atmosphere of Venus. There is water in the stratosphere, and there is even water in space itself.) So Calvin was just wrong.
- it's foolish for people to pretend they have some perfect knowledge of things. (Calvin's ignorance being a case in point.) It's also unwarranted to pretend there aren't hints in the bible about knowledge of the world not known by the science of the day. I think of the passage that mentions 'paths in the sea' that led a fellow named Mathew Maury to look for ocean currents (ie. paths) and led him to make new discoveries in this area. (He obviously wasn't the first man to read this particular verse, but it inspired him in his research.)

4. (P 105) "In fact, the young-earth creationists do not reject science as a whole. They use scientific methods, scientific assumptions, and scientific theories in many cases where they hope that it will help them fit things into the picture of a young earth. The question then arises, β€œOn what grounds do you exercise suspicion toward one area, galactic astronomy, even though you can find no serious flaws in it, and not toward another area?”
- I suppose this explains why old age creationists accept everything naturalist (materialist) science says. If they don't they're guilty of the same thing. This is a strange argument; as the bible counsels people repeatedly to use judgment and discernment. (But I guess prof p. knows better; he just accepts everything.)
- what makes this such a repulsive argument is that even prof. p. in other places doesn't conform to his own argument. ie. Does he believe the mind is a myth? science tells us it is. Does he believe the soul is a myth? god a myth? the resurrection a myth? miracles a myth? sin a myth? heaven a myth? hell a myth? On his own account he has no right to reject any of the claims of mainstream science. (But he does of course; he's very selective in the areas of his own concern... there he allows himself to pick and choose as he wants.)

5. (147) 'The 24-hour-day view, mature creation, the day-age theory, the analogical day theory, and the framework view all affirm the main theological truths of Genesis 1–2.'
- prof. P. is a clever guy but not so clever one can't see through him. Read the sentence again, carefully, and you notice something strange. He claims all these models affirm the truths of gen 1-2. Why just 1-2? why not say they affirm all the truths of scripture? Well, the answer is simple; because some of these models don't do that, in fact they deny many truths of scripture. (One example being that death was caused by the sin of Adam.)


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