De vorba cu Livius Indrei – I
Credința în viața de apoi
September 2, 2019
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Dad and Livius,
Greetings from Chicago, the land of self-proclaimed intellectuals and other dilettantes. I’m glad to see you’re both active in dialog, even agreeing to disagree. This leads to progress, or at least leaves the door open for it.
After watching both videos today, I feel at a disadvantage because I wasn’t there to participate with questions and comments. I made a few notes while watching and would like to share them for discussion, in no particular order:
Speed of light constant?
It’s really a calculated average value but it can be slower/faster depending on medium of transmittance. Science has agreed on a set value to make things easier to calculate across various disciplines (astronomy, chemistry, biology, geology to name but a few). That said, this agreed-upon number in reality can vary dramatically with enormous consequences in final numbers which we are unable to verify in all instances or circumstances. Even if the rounding error is off by only a few tenths of a percent, when attempting to calculate huge numbers of either time or distance, it would be impossible to verify using current technology. Even so, let’s accept that light travels at a certain speed, more or less always, and as far as we currently know. It doesn’t have to though. We should remember that we know a lot less of the laws of physics than we would like to, and much of what we discover is threatening what we currently think we know.
I don’t believe the “gap” between Gen 1:1 and 1:2 is a time gap, merely an introductory first verse complete with the theme for the rest of the chapter, and the following verses with the details thereafter. In my view, the earth and everything on it is less than 10,000 years old.
Where is Light in the first 3 days of Creation?
If darkness covers the earth, the writer can’t see that earth is covered by water, can’t see Holy Spirit hovering over those waters, can’t see the shape of the earth or that it is “void and empty.” He makes these statements as facts beyond his control or verification. Or he’s simply repeating what he’s being told to write; we can’t be sure in either case. Even if we don’t take the writer’s text literally, we have to assume that he intends to convey at the very least the origins of literal realities of day and night, Sun, moon, and stars, vegetation, animal life, sea life, mankind, water, ground, sky and so on.
The absence of Sunlight may be observational and local, not a global condition. Just as at nighttime the earth (where you are) is dark but the Sun still burns and lights up the other hemisphere. We are not told of the writer’s perspective or his exact geographical location. It may be a matter of local perspective, not global coverage. What we can conclude though, is that if the dry ground and vegetation was created on day 3, that vegetation life would most assuredly need the Sun’s light the next day in order to facilitate photosynthesis, in all its complexity as Livius knows. And just as God can create out of nothing simply with His own words, He can create a living thing fully mature and completely ordered, just as the plants, trees, flowers, and grass of the field on the 3rd day. Consequently, without day 3 to make living plant life and day 4 to give it sunlight, we couldn’t have animal life formed and being sustained starting on days 5 and 6.
Granted, the original Hebrew text uses words that can have different meanings and translations, the point being his text is first and foremost a narrative. Surely I can believe he is directly challenging the prevailing mythology and religious currents of his time, but I submit that this is not his ONLY intent. I believe he is attempting to correct the record that mankind had until then already grossly corrupted with gods and deities of all types, to suit their selfish desires of power and control over others.
Moses knew Egyptian astrology, religious concepts and current mythology, even the current “science” of his day as he was educated at Pharaoh’s court for 40 years. He writes Genesis with the intent that it become a historical document not just for the Jews who were leaving Egypt to find their own land, but for all people that they would come into contact with along the way and once settled. God intended Israel to be a light to all nations. Moses used existing items of nature to discard and discredit Egyptian (and other) gods, but ALSO to convey the correct origins that Egyptians and other ancient people had perhaps known at one time but had corrupted for their own purposes along the centuries. In fact, I think all ancient peoples knew at one time about the true creation of God and the subsequent destruction of the earth by a flood. Over the centuries, man corrupted this knowledge to prosper himself, diverting attention from the true God to the various mythologies and deities all over the ancient world. Same with the notion of the Flood; the history was known by ancient man in different parts of the world that never came into contact with each other, and over time the story became corrupted and changed. Yet, all ancient people knew of a Flood.
Doing away with the literal Flood also disconnects end-time prophecy in which it is said “as was in the days of Noah” to describe the violence and sin in the land, and the destruction that followed. In end-time prophecy, the world will be destroyed (judged) again, this time with fire. Are we to presume that this latter destruction is also fictional or allegory? The accounts are tied together, and must either both be literal events or both be something else. Yes, the lesson is to be watchful and ready. But ready for what, if not a literal event taking place?
The Flood directly resulted in mankind no longer living centuries at a time, being reduced to 120 years within several generations. This is due in part because most vegetation was destroyed. I think Noah in his preparations collected and kept sees for replanting, but man’s diet initially turned to meats and life expectancy was reduced dramatically. Even current science supports this. The new natural environment became extreme in places, with forbidding temperatures and life conditions. This accomplished God’s plan that man would be limited in his life and energy and therefore violence and tyranny would never fill the land again to such extremes as to snuff out all life. This would ensure that the Messiah would arrive at the ordained time, as promised to Adam after the Fall.
The ages of geologic columns themselves are less important than the fact that between the layers there is no evidence of erosion, only a flat level surface indicating no time difference. The only indication is that another density layer was deposited on top of another. We must also take into account the absence of some layers that, with their absence, also delete the time component associated with it. Such is the case in the Grand Canyon and in other formations where entire layers or strata are missing, which amounts to nearly 2 billions years’ time unaccounted for. Also, the order of least complex to most complex (deep to shallow) reflects the current distribution of life: simplest lifeforms in the soil and deep water and higher animals on the surface. The fossils were deposited based on this same hierarchy upon their death at the Flood: those that died first were most simple at the lowest levels and those that died last were most complex and survived the longest until their demise. There is no reason to over-complicate this aspect. Moreover, the fossils attributed to the Cambrian explosion strata (the lowest layer basically) are full of different species totally unrelated to each other. They lived and died at the same time and were the first layer deposited when the mud hardened. No fossils exist in the layer beneath it.
Sea creatures were (maybe not all) destroyed at the Flood, not by water only (or directly even) but by large mud-flow sediments that trapped them, depriving them of oxygen, light, freedom of movement and food. The Flood wasn’t just caused by rain, but by fountains of water from under the earth that broke free that tore up the earth and landscapes. Current science supports that there are fountains of water deep under the earth; in fact, the largest source of water is still underground and exceeds the water content of earth’s oceans. The mountains are rising to this day due to plate tectonics, but I believe plate tectonics were not a part of the original created state. Plate tectonics and the resultant mountain ranges (and earthquakes, volcanoes, etc.) are a reality because of, and as a consequence of, the Flood.
The animals brought into the Ark represented all of the original kinds that God created, each with the genetic capability of adaptation to their environments. If the Flood is a miraculous un-natural event, as was their marching into the Ark in the first place, it is not theologically difficult to believe that Noah fed the animals grains and dried grass/hay. After all, he had 120 years to build the Ark and prepare food storage. I think he made adequate preparations to survive at least a year, if not more. Even carnivorous animals today eat grains or grasses if necessary. After the Flood, their diversification into many other subspecies is equally not problematic in only four thousand years. Their genetic adaptability coupled with man’s knowledge of breeding accelerated the process. As proof, we need only consider dogs, which are a direct descendant of wolves. Mankind has been breeding dogs for several thousand years and we now have over 350 separate and distinct breeds of dogs. In other places, animals went extinct due to hunting, predation, or inability to adapt to drastically changing conditions and climate on a post-Flood earth, including extreme weather, “ice ages,” and separation due to mountain ranges, oceans, etc.
As for radiometric dating and the “certainty” of the figures it purports, I’ve already talked at length in other places how those methods fail to impress me.
What is inspiration? Why is it important?
God given, whether in vision or direct communication, or by His messengers/angels. If the Bible authors were inspired by God to write, then that means the Bible text must be the supreme moral authority that we must defer to, and we’ll eventually give an account for accepting or discarding. If the Bible is inspired, it will not lie or lead us astray; our own (or others’) interpretation may, and often has. But God intends that His Word be understood and believed with life experience consisting of humility AND faith in the Author, or it is of no real use to us. It is impossible to empirically examine the Bible as you might an inanimate object in a sterile lab, without any bias or expectations. Age and experience have already molded our thinking, our capacity to filter and extract information from a text. Regardless of what the text says absolutely, each one reads into it something a little different. Seeing as how we approach everything in life with certain preconceived notions, it would be irrational to think that we can approach the Bible without any bias.
If the Bible were not inspired, then it is of no value to humans living in a sinful world from which we can have no hope of escape or salvation. It’s just another “self help” book with some good ideas here and there, and some bizzare stories that don’t matter. And if we say it’s not inspired, then we call God a liar when He says “thy Word is truth.” What other kind of truth can it be, if not eternal moral supreme truth that we will be individually judged by?
Thanks for taking the time to share your opinions. I will be brief because the time is short.
“Speed of light constant?”
Yes, it is constant in vacuum, and this is what I intended to get at; it is what counts regarding measuring time and distances, because the interstellar space is empty, vacuum-like.
“In my view, the earth and everything on it is less than 10,000 years old.”
That is your view, you are entitled to it, but it is only based on your faith, not on science.
“Where is Light in the first 3 days of Creation?”
The question was “what is the light in the first 3 days and where does it come from”? If you want to weigh in your answer, you need to be precise. State your opinion but do not play with ambiguity. The author was not present. He did not dream, nor he had visions. The Book of Jubilee is the source of the idea that Moses was told by an angel the history of creation. I don’t buy it!
“I believe he is attempting to correct the record that mankind had until then”
You can believe whatever you want, but it is not at all likely that the “record” had been defaulted in such a way, as if there were no people who knew the “record” better before Moses. And again, what you “believe” cannot be supported either by science, nor by the text itself.
“Same with the notion of the Flood; the history was known by ancient man in different parts of the world that never came into contact with each other, and over time the story became corrupted and changed. Yet, all ancient people knew of a Flood.”
Again, the argument is flawed because there is not enough time lapsed to justify the gross misrepresentations of the same event, especially if you hold to such gigantic ages of people before the Flood. I said it already, there were many local (more or less) floods the world has known, having natural causes that scientists explain satisfactorily. The scarcity of any resemblance between these stories around the world should warn you against making false asumptions. Not to mention the lack of any geological evidence of a global Flood. You missed, it seems, the argument that all strata could NOT have been deposited within one year, since strata of aquatic sediments alternate with strata of subaerial sediments. Even the Christian Flood Geology scientists had to admit to it. GRI also has changed their views, now pleading for a change toward a “wholistic geology view” where they admit that there are strata deposited before the Flood and after it also.
“The ages of geologic columns themselves are less important than the fact that between the layers there is no evidence of erosion, only a flat level surface indicating no time difference. The only indication is that another density layer was deposited on top of another”.
Your view is skewed by the creationist literature you endulge into reading. I give credit to professional geologists. Regarding fossils, you are wrong that “there are no fossils below the cambrian”. And even more wrong you are about the distribution of the forms of life in the strata. If you want to have a debate, you are welcome to come to Atlanta or have one over the internet.
“As for radiometric dating and the “certainty” of the figures it purports, I’ve already talked at length in other places how those methods fail to impress me.”
Needless to say, whether you are impressed or not bears no value toward this aspect of science. You (and Livius, Florin, and co.) are forced to deny it because you have no valid answer to it. Not even GRI challenge the veracity of this aspect of science. Remember that denying science does not invalidate it. You have to prove “otherwise”.
“What is inspiration? Why is it important?”
I would say, first, try to answer the first question before you launch all kind of speculations of its importance. As I said, I say nothing about “inspiration”. True, or false, the message of a text resides in the text itself. There is no rule that believing in the inspiration means to cling to a literalist interpretation of Scripture.
I closing, remember that my first and strongest argument against the Flood is the theological argument.
I’ve typed and deleted this several times already, but here goes…Maybe I’m wrong and my apologies if it upsets you.
In reading your responses to my comments I detect a defensive and dismissive tone, which indicates more of an emotional reaction than a rational open-minded one.
“That is your view, you are entitled to it…”
“You can believe whatever you want… what you ‘believe’ cannot be supported…by science or the text itself.”
“Your view is skewed by the creationist literature you indulge into reading.”
“You (and Livius, Florin, and co.) are forced to deny [science].”
I’ll respond thusly:
On the speed of light: space is actually not empty and it’s not a perfect or constant vacuum. There are many different gases of differing densities including xenon, helium, hydrogen, even oxygen, and dust and other matter particles such as silicates, ice, iron, and carbon in varying amounts, all moving around at incredibly high velocities (directions and speeds). These are only a few things we know of currently; there are likely much more we don’t know of. How any of these affect the transmittance, luminosity, speed, etc. of light itself, which is both a particle and a wave is unknown and so we ignore them for simplicity’s sake. Glossing over such details doesn’t make them go away, however, nor does it inspire in me the level of absolute confidence you display in science’s current understanding of space-time, taking note of how many times this has changed in only the last hundred years.
Maybe your view is “skewed” by the professionals you read and give credit to, while ignoring their worldviews, ideologies, or biases. You also discard most (if not all) other creationist points which were defended by many theologians over the centuries and now by some professional scientists in our time, in favor of your chosen professionals. That’s called cherry-picking. What makes your view more valid than theirs?
I didn’t miss the argument about aquatic and subaerial sediments; to borrow your phrase, “I don’t buy it.”
Reading in The Depositional Record (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/dep2.20) the professionals state, “Distinguishing between subaqueous and subaerial ancient volcanogenic deposits can be difficult if rock features are poorly preserved, exposures are limited, and independent palaeoenvironmental indicators are absent or ambiguous. In particular, assigning a subaqueous or subaerial interpretation to sedimentary structures such as dune, low- to high-angle cross-stratification and planar stratification has proven challenging because they can form in many settings and from many types of flow. This means bedforms and stratigraphy with similar, if not identical, bedform geometries have been described from both subaerial and subaqueous environments.”
Hopefully you caught some of the keywords there: “distinguishing,” “assigning,” “interpretation,” “proven challenging,” and other such caveats. For you to therefore conclude that the Flood couldn’t have happened because the geological layers were not all laid down at the same time during one year is a non-argument. I did not say that all of the geological strata are the result of the Genesis Flood. But I do think most of the globally found ones probably are, especially since they are found in the exact same order in many geographical locations. But some layers are missing in different parts of the world while the existence of other layers may be the result of regional volcanogenic events (both below and above water), whether during or subsequently through time after the Flood. Think earthquakes and aftershocks.
In short, these professionals looked at only a few remote locations, looked through previous interpretations of those events and locations, and with some extra effort they think they “partially removed” the uncertainty in the origin of those geologic formations. That’s a far cry from stating with absolute certainty that they KNOW the origins and can pinpoint them without a doubt. Therefore your categorical “could NOT have been deposited” position remains unsupported, at least for me.
Regarding “there is not enough time lapsed to justify the gross misrepresentations of the same event,” I would call your attention to the fact that people are currently misrepresenting statements, events, and ideas, and attempting to rewrite history through social justice awareness or other lenses. Just watch the “news” for an hour or two; things are being misrepresented multiple times per day if not per hour, even in this so-called “information age.”
“True, or false, the message of a text resides in the text itself.” But unless you trust or can verify the source, the text and its message are equally worthless. The same is true with books, maps, printed money, checks, tablets, scrolls, papyrii or just about any other type and medium of text.
“There is no rule that believing in the inspiration means to cling to a literalist interpretation of Scripture.” Agreed, and I think our church theology makes the appropriate distinctions between the various styles of text found in Scripture, some to be taken literally while others not. That recently it has been more forceful or dogmatic about specific areas — for better or worse — and whether this is wise or even necessary is debatable.
And since your “first and strongest argument against the Flood is the theological argument,” I ask what and whose theology is this based on exactly? How was it arrived at and why? And what is the consensus among the theological community and comparing it to known historical church theology? Why do you subscribe to it now if you hadn’t before? Because if your current argument against the Flood is that God could not — or would not — do such a terrible seemingly irrational thing, and if He actually did, this caused a negative emotional response that upsets you, I’d have to say your whole argument that you approach the Bible text solely from a rational perspective is falsified and out the window. Moreover, with the end of earth’s sordid history fast approaching, you may be further disappointed by what God has in store for this world and its mostly evil inhabitants.
(Not to change the subject) By the way, have you heard what modern science is beginning to say about how to fight against the hoax known as Michael “Mann-made climate change?” The professionals are giving thought to, and beginning to recommend, wait for it…. Cannibalism! If Richard Dawkins is for it, better run the other way. Apparently, our Neanderthal ancestors may have been the first to resort to such drastic measures (https://www.theepochtimes.com/swedish-researcher-pushes-human-flesh-eating-as-answer-to-future-climate-change-food-shortages_3068833.html and https://www.newsweek.com/cannibalism-animal-kingdom-ultimate-taboo-humans-1455287?utm_source=Twitter&utm_campaign=NewsweekTwitter&utm_medium=Social and https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305440318304680)
And speaking of Michael Mann — the genius who advises the U.S. and UN’s IPCC on the earth’s climate and blames anthropogenic factors for its supposed rapid changes — he just lost the lawsuit against fellow researcher Dr. Tim Ball who challenged him to show his raw data used for his infamous hockey stick graphs, because he defied court orders to produce those documents. Not only was his lawsuit dismissed with prejudice, he was also ordered to pay court fees to Dr. Ball for wasting his and the court’s time. (https://principia-scientific.org/breaking-news-dr-tim-ball-defeats-michael-manns-climate-lawsuit/).
Just a small example of “professionals” who abuse, misuse, misinterpret, mislead and obfuscate data to support an ideological view and the world eventually follows suit. But the science is settled! The debate is over! The climate, evolution, geology, cosmology, what else?
Because Science has “proven” it! Good grief.
[shakes head walking away]
Andrei, what you do is citing out of context in order to prove something against the very subject matter talked about in the article. That is called “lack of honesty”. The Abstract says it pretty clearly that even though it is not easy in general to distinguish between subaerial and subaquatic deposits, through careful analysis (not one that is done by creationists) it can be done. I only quote a fragment from the Abstract.
“From this compendium, a framework has been created that allows users to compare the physical controls that shape each example with the factors controlling bedform deposition in that environment. Identifying key characteristics of the Cape Wanbrow dunes and comparing multiple flow types and environments using the designed framework indicates that they were deposited by subaerial dry pyroclastic density currents. This conclusion has wider implication for the entire Surtseyan stack at Cape Wanbrow, because it indicates that at least this volcano (Rua) became emergent and fully subaerial during its lifespan.”
I don’t think I cited anything out of context because in their conclusion they still warn that “Distinguishing between subaqueous and subaerial deposits in ancient volcanogenic successions remains a difficult task and becomes progressively harder when rock features are poorly preserved, exposures are limited, and independent palaeoenvironmental indicators are absent or
To distinguish between the two remains a subjective task that involves much interpretation. It’s not as if they found carvings in the sediment layers as a written record to tell them what happened; they have to come up with an explanation but there’s no way to test it and see if it holds true.
With regard to this particular location, they feel “the uncertainty over the origin of Oligocene-Eocene aged dunes at Cape Wanbrow, Oamaru, has been partially removed.”
Again, as I stated above, with this being one location where even here the results are ambiguous it is a stretch to say this study supports your categorical claim that Noah’s flood could not have produced the sediment layers in one year. You simply don’t know.
I did not say anything about the fact that the article “supports my categorical claim”. And the claim that the layers cannot be formed in one year from the flood comes from a great number of geologists, including from “flood geologists” who attempted to prove the biblical flood. I said that if you or anyone disagree with that statement you need to prove otherwise. Have you proven that?
“…the claim that the layers cannot be formed in one year from the flood comes from a great number of geologists, including from “flood geologists…”
In the context of this discussion and the article you sent me, it really comes from Phil Senter, who by the way is not a geologist. He’s an evolutionary biologist that fancies himself a paleontologist and theologian. He likes to “debunk” creationist ideas, which should be an indication of his bias, worldview, or agenda if you like. So if you accept his claims on geology, then you have to accept his views on evolution too.
Again, science does not prove anything and its goal is not to prove or disprove. A theory can be tested, observations can be made, mechanisms can be studied and so on. But to say that science has proved anything with regard to geology, or biology, or any other specialty is inaccurate.
I don’t need to prove anything; the burden of proof is on those making outrageous claims, such as “life just appeared,” or “bacteria evolved to be multicellular,” or “man is descended from the great apes.” The same geniuses claim the Flood is a myth and so is Creation, and religion is a crutch for the weak-minded and other foolish ideas.
When did I become a bigger skeptic than you? 🙂
Phil Senter presents a study of the literature published by flood geologists. Shifting the subject to biological evolution is a red herring argument.
I beg to differ: Phil Senter presents his biased interpretations of the literature published by flood geologists.
I don’t rely on or cling to flood geologists anyway, so if Senter “debunks” them it doesn’t affect me one bit.
The fact that his specialty is evolutionary biology, first and foremost, should basically disqualify him from even debating geology. By the way, his article is more than eight years old while the subaerial vs subaquatic article we talked about above is more recent. Those authors warned that geologic formations which look identical have been designated as both types by different people in the past. They were looking to improve the methodology.
Senter himself is too trusting in what others have perhaps erroneously designated as subaerial when he says “Deposits that are demonstrably subaerial… obviously cannot have been deposited during a PWS.” Since there is really no way for him to truly and objectively demonstrate what is or isn’t subaerial, and since he is not a geologist to do the analysis himself, he is in no position to state anything with any authority.
We could agree to disagree. If an Old Earth Creationist paradigm satisfies you completely, that’s OK with me. I don’t agree to it because nothing I’ve studied until now has made me doubt my position. That’s why I comment here (which, incidentally, I don’t see anyone else doing. Where is Livius?).
You don’t agree with Young Earth Creationist views and that’s OK by me. For what it’s worth, I don’t need science to strengthen my faith or justify my theology, just as my faith and theology don’t require science. They are not mutually exclusive necessarily, but one is not required for the other.
Peace be unto you!
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