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Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: Noah
JimT

Ship'th Mythtic
# 142

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quote:
Originally posted by afish:

Jim T.
quote:
“ … Noah did not write the story of Noah. Not one single story in the entire book of Genesis was written by the person in the story.”
Breathtaking Jim, whence comes this certainty?

<snip>

What I was saying was that The Story (The Bible) has been written by the people involved in it whether they are mentioned by name in The Story or not.


I was taking it as a given that Moses wrote the book of Genesis. Not exactly "breathtaking." The tablet theory is "breathtaking" to my breath at least. You have some other theory?
Posts: 2619 | From: Now On | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Ham'n'Eggs

Ship's Pig
# 629

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quote:
Originally posted by afish:
Karl
quote:
Why must a God who is active in history produce an inerrant Bible?
Because He is inerrant.
So why did an inerrant God create a world which has errors in it?

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"...the heresies that men do leave / Are hated most of those they did deceive" - Will S


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Karl: Liberal Backslider
Shipmate
# 76

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Really, Afish, your inability to gain truth from a myth is not something I share. I'm sure He'd be willing to help you if you wish. If the Holy Spirit guides people in reading the Bible, can't He ensure you gain the truth that was intended to be communicated through these passages? Anyone would think you were on your own reading the Bible...

Incidently, how do you learn about God from say the parable of Dives and Lazarus - or do you propose that in order to learn from this story it also has to be literally true?

We have to start from reality. The following points are real facts we have to come to terms with, like it or not. You can cast unreasonable doubt on them, sure, but there's people out there who can cast unreasonable doubt on the heliocentric solar system model:

(1) The Earth is, give or take, 4.5 billion years old.
(2) Life has gone through a series of changes. Both morphological and genetic evidence show that these changes have come about through descent with modification.
(3) Whilst a number of sometimes large scale floods can be found in various places and at various times in earth history, there is no support whatsoever for the concept of a world-wide flood at any point, much less during human history.
(4) The above points 1-3 conflict with a literal historical reading of Genesis 1-11.

Quite frankly, the creationist/literalist viewpoint is a simple ostrich-head attitude towards points 1-3 above.

--------------------
Might as well ask the bloody cat.

Posts: 17938 | From: Chesterfield | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

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quote:
Originally posted by afish:
I’ve read the extract from Augustine ‘s “The Literal Meaning of Genesis” and find nothing that I disagree with (I’m sure he’ll be relieved to know that). But I also find nothing that indicates that he believe that The Flood and the other recorded events did not happen as recorded.

Of course he doesn't say much about the Flood ... both On the Literal Interpretation of Genesis and Genesis against the Manichees deal just with the first 3 chapters of Genesis. My reference to Augustine was in relation to Creation rather than Flood (my bad for raising the spectre of that equus simplicidens).

quote:
It seems plain to me that even with parables and proverbs and songs the context of the whole Bible is historical, real people, real events, along a real time line, with a real God.
Yes, the Bible has a real historical context. But, certainly in the case of literature like parables and songs, that is the historical context of the time when they were written rather than the events they tell (which were, very often, fictional) - they are written by and for particular people in particular historical situations. That they apply to others in other situations is part of the reason they were reproduced, preserved and eventually included in the canon of Scripture.

As I've said before, Genesis is an account of the origin of the people of Israel - a myth that forged a group of slaves into a coherent nation. The principle historical event for Israel is not Creation or Flood but the Exodus; the historicity of an exodus event (not necessarily precise adherence to the story - but that's another tangent) is important, the earlier events are much more like the stories of Brutus and Scota Louise mentioned back on p7.

quote:
As for the non-science of textual criticism and questions about Cain’s wife; Alan you’re a mountain man what are you doing messing about in bogs?
Cain's wife is not a question of scientific textual criticism but logic. It's patently obvious that on the basis of the story alone there were only 3 people - Adam, Eve and Cain (and the corpse of Abel) ... yet there are more than 3 people - a wife for Cain and people for him to fear. The only options logically available are:
1) the story isn't complete and doesn't mention a lot of other children for Adam and Eve, incl. Cains wife (which adds to the story additional facts)
2) Adam and Eve were just 2 of loads more people and hence not the first humans
3) The story is not a factual historical account

My experience is that Creationists and other Biblical Literalists tend to add additional details to stories to enable them to be read as literal history without the logical inconsistancies inherent in the stories. So, in relation to the Flood we get such concepts as a water canopy to account for the water, massive post-Flood mountain building, massively accelerated evolution and birth rates to repopulate the earths animals and mass migration with animals all reaching their "homes" leaving no trace en-route.

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Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

Posts: 32413 | From: East Kilbride (Scotland) or 福島 | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
My experience is that Creationists and other Biblical Literalists tend to add additional details to stories to enable them to be read as literal history without the logical inconsistancies inherent in the stories. So, in relation to the Flood we get such concepts as a water canopy to account for the water, massive post-Flood mountain building, massively accelerated evolution and birth rates to repopulate the earths animals and mass migration with animals all reaching their "homes" leaving no trace en-route.

Lots of literalists do not accept the "Genesis Flood" and young earth partly because to do so requires making upo all these other stories to add to the Bible account. Young-earth creationism is not a literal reading of the Bible.

When I say "lots of litertalists" I include people like Scofield of the well-known Scofield Reference Bible, which was more or less the textbook of the 19th and early 20th century dispensationalists; or people like the authors of the series of boos called "The Fundamentals" which were the origin of 20th-century fundamentalism.

Young-earth creationism and the Genesis Flood are not based on a literal reading of the Bible. They are based on "The Bible And..."

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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markporter
Shipmate
# 4276

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quote:
As I've said before, Genesis is an account of the origin of the people of Israel - a myth that forged a group of slaves into a coherent nation. The principle historical event for Israel is not Creation or Flood but the Exodus; the historicity of an exodus event (not necessarily precise adherence to the story - but that's another tangent) is important, the earlier events are much more like the stories of Brutus and Scota Louise mentioned back on p7.
well, I'm beginning to afree in part with some of what you say, but I'm not cconvinced that anything post-Abraham should be considered myth, I think that the evidence points otherwise.
Posts: 1309 | From: Oxford | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

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quote:
Originally posted by ken:
Lots of literalists do not accept the "Genesis Flood" and young earth partly because to do so requires making upo all these other stories to add to the Bible account. Young-earth creationism is not a literal reading of the Bible.

Yes, you are, of course, correct that not all Biblical Literalists are YEC and believer in a global flood. Though, my experience is that people who take the Bible literally and reject the YEC position tend to not use the word "literalist" to describe their position because of the problem of being misunderstood and summarily dismissed as a loony - likewise I know several fundamentalists who don't call themselves fundamentalist, evangelicals who qualify themselves as "broad"/"open"/etc evangelicals (heck, I'm one of them) for similar reasons. I've just shown myself guilty of the same sloppy use of the phrase Biblical Literalists as those who effect a change in the meaning of the term among the general populace. [Embarrassed]

I think I'd dispute that YEC and Global Flood are not literal readings of Genesis. I think they are - just not the only literal readings, nor even the best literal readings, indeed they are probably totally incorrect readings ... but still literal.

--------------------
Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

Posts: 32413 | From: East Kilbride (Scotland) or 福島 | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

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quote:
Originally posted by markporter:
I'm not cconvinced that anything post-Abraham should be considered myth, I think that the evidence points otherwise.

Myth does not equal completely fictitious. A true story can be myth. But, the purpose of a myth is such that strict adherence to the facts is not the primary concern.

An example: there is a stereotypical ideal in Britain of being our best in the face of adversity, this is encapsulated in a myth that has given a name to this attitude - it gets called the "Dunkirk Spirit", the myth is a story of ordinary people sailing whatever boats they had at hand towards the sound of the guns to rescue the British army from the beaches of Dunkirk. Now the story is romanticised (how many of those boats were commandeered by the government and ordered to go?) but essentially true.

--------------------
Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

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JimT

Ship'th Mythtic
# 142

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quote:
Originally posted by Karl - Liberal Backslider:
We have to start from reality.

I cannot express how vigorously I agree with this.
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Glenn Oldham
Shipmate
# 47

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quote:
Originally posted by afish:
Glen O.
No, a fictional play by Suetonius about a someone called Julius Caesar could not, of itself, be the basis for believing that the guy really existed. Is not the reason that we are “… reasonably certain that Julius Caesar was a real historical character.” because there are literal, historic accounts that mention him?

Er, yes afish, but Suetonius (AD69 - c. 122) is one of our sources for that history. The Twelve Caesars is NOT a play and Suetonius was a biographer, but he still uses quite a lot of frankly incredible material in with the more believable history.

I used him as an example to show that your earlier statement that:
quote:
If The Bible were not, as a whole, a literal historic story told by God but rather a collection of myths told by humans, a mish mash of more or less historical facts and other stuff what would it reveal to us? Certainly not a God Who is literal and historic.
is an argument that doesn't work. The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius is a mish mash of more or less historical facts and other stuff that does tell us quite a lot about the real, historical Julius Caesar.
Glenn

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This entire doctrine is worthless except as a subject of dispute. (G. C. Lichtenberg 1742-1799 Aphorism 60 in notebook J of The Waste Books)

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afish
Shipmate
# 1135

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quote:
“Originally posted by afish:
1. Concerning the pressure problem, it would be interesting to see in mathematical detail what a model(s) of maximum, above earth, water storage would give for total possible one off rainfall. But of course whatever the amount of water coming down there is also the water coming up, so.”
Response from Ken,
--------------------------------------------------
“I'm afraid I don't understand what you mean by this. It looks like unintelligible waffle to me.”

Response from Alan C.,
“I think I understand where this is coming from. There seems to be two questions here: 1) how much water vapour/clouds can the atmosphere sustain without it raining? 2) how much greater can the atmospheric pressure be than present and the earth still be habitable? afish - if I've misunderstood your question just speak up.”

--------------------------------------------------
Alan
It’s good to know there are people out there who can understand unintelligible waffle. Though describing two sentences as waffle is, I think, a misuse of the English. The Beckham’s Stone saga, however, though sort of intelligible, is a prime example of wadding (a sub-genre of waffle, denser and less digestible).
But back to the plot. So you are proposing that a 40ish m. rise in sea level caused by rainfall alone is a possibility. Well that doesn’t seem to me to be, “an insignificant amount of water”. Would that have been enough to cover the highest land by 7m.? I don’t know but there is still the water coming up from the fountains of the deep. My conclusion is still that there are just too many unknowns involved for even the best of scientists to state categorically, this could not have happened within the parameters of natural laws.

Glen O.
quote:
“afish, it would help us to know what kind of flood you are talking about. Global or local? Preceded by millions of years or not? If global, then how deep at the time, and how much mountain building was needed afterwards? These are crucial questions.”
Sorry I thought my position was clear. I believe that all land was covered, destroying all land life; that The Flood happened 1656 years after the creation of Adam; we have no idea of what the total rise in sea level was; we know what the heights of mountains are now, exactly how and when they were formed and how long it has taken we don’t and can’t know.

Plate tectonics and continental drift is an interesting theory. That S. American bulge just looks so right fitted into that African curve. I have sometimes wondered if, “the earth was divided” in Genesis10:25 refers to the forming of the continents? But having said that I would need to know a lot more about the extent of geological equivalences between continents before I made a transfer from my theory folder to my fact folder. As an evidence of the earth’s age, you are wholly dependent on the dating of rocks being correct (unverifiable) and the assumption (unverifiable) that the drift has been constant at around 4cm a year.
Why does some fossilised coral appear to have grown 400 layers in year whereas these days they only grow 365? I don’t know. Is it proof that they are 38,000,000 yrs old? I don’t think so.
How long is needed to make mountains, form a band of sediment a mile thick and so on? Well, I know this is getting boring but we don’t know. Maybe I’ve got an over developed imagination but it seems to me that a lot can happen in a hundred years and in a thousand even more. How much did the one year of The Flood contribute to the geology that is visible to us now? Again we don’t seem to know. The only scenario that makes sense to me is that the surface of the earth that we have now became much as it is now during the 3000 years after The Flood.

Ken
quote:
“Lets say we find a large isolated, rounded, granite rock, weighing a few tons, sitting all on its own on top of a hill made of some sedimentary rocks, many miles from the nearest granite.
If we saw that in Britain today our first assumptions would be either that people put it there, or that it was left behind by the ice. We could make various investigations to see which was more likely. That would be science.”

Maybe “science” should not make assumptions and just stick to the facts? Yes I know this is an extreme way of putting it but it makes the point.
What I was trying to focus on is not how a lump of rock got where it is or the Beckham phenomena or fairies. The questions are these;
Does God sometimes intervened and override the natural laws of the material world?
Can someone who is both a scientist and a Christian legitimately claim that this first question has no bearing whatever on scientific research and theories derived from that research?

As for this Omphalos thing, God is not a deceiver or a trickster but He, in the beginning, certainly made earth exactly however He wanted it. What was earths geology in the beginning? How old would it have measured with present day dating methods? Again and again and again, we don’t know. Any claim that we do is not science just hubris.
><>
ok will read with interest most recent posts. I see Bonzo is advocating the virtues of The Unknown God.

--------------------
"Some things are too hot to touch
The human mind can only stand so much"
Bob Dylan

Posts: 168 | From: France | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
markporter
Shipmate
# 4276

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quote:
What was earths geology in the beginning? How old would it have measured with present day dating methods?
I do think that this is an interesting point....would it be possible to create something like the earth without any appearance of age whatsoever?
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SteveWal
Shipmate
# 307

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Maybe “science” should not make assumptions and just stick to the facts? Yes I know this is an extreme way of putting it but it makes the point.


Isn't this precisely what science should be doing? Positing hypotheses then attempting to prove/disprove them?

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If they give you lined paper to write on, write across the lines. (Russian anarchist saying)

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JimT

Ship'th Mythtic
# 142

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How is it possible to "posit an hypothesis" without making assumptions? It is not possible. An hypothesis is an assumption that must be proved or disproved. By definition it is an assumption. If science only "sticks to facts" all it can do is list facts. There would be no need to test them.

I think the opposite question is better. Shouldn't religion stick to moral and spiritual truths and not attempt to assert that all natual scientific truth can be found in its ethical and moral writings?

It is easy to defend the notion that science should be "allowed" to make assumptions. It is not so easy to defend the notion that the Bible is a natural science textbook in addition to being the source of moral truth.

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ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by markporter:
quote:
What was earths geology in the beginning? How old would it have measured with present day dating methods?
I do think that this is an interesting point....would it be possible to create something like the earth without any appearance of age whatsoever?
Probably not - which is the very serious philosphical point Gosse was making in Omphalos

There is a huge difference between that sort of thing, which at least faces up to some of the absurdities, and some of the shit talked by the so-called creation scientists.

--------------------
Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

Posts: 39579 | From: London | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by SteveWal:
Maybe “science” should not make assumptions and just stick to the facts? Yes I know this is an extreme way of putting it but it makes the point.

YOu can't do science by staring vacantly out into the cosmos. You always bring background with you - asssumptions, axioms, hypotheses, theories. Good scholarship recognises its own biases, or at least is transparent enough to allow others to recognise them. But there always are biases.

Saying that "science should stick to the facts" is not a scientific programme, but a political one; and an impossible one at that. "Facts" cannot be communicated outwith a language, and any means of communication, any language, neccessarily comes with baggage.

--------------------
Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

Posts: 39579 | From: London | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by afish:
The questions are these;
Does God sometimes intervened and override the natural laws of the material world?
Can someone who is both a scientist and a Christian legitimately claim that this first question has no bearing whatever on scientific research and theories derived from that research?

If that's all you are saying, then there is no argument between us about science. I'm glad to see that you don't believe this "Flood Geology/Creation Science" bullshit. If God has intervened miraculously and suspended the natural processes in order to make the world look as it does now, than there is no argument - in fact no contact - between Biblical scholars and scientists on these points. Presumably the Biblical scholars can respect the scientists for honestly describing God's stage sets.

--------------------
Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

Posts: 39579 | From: London | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
afish
Shipmate
# 1135

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quote:
“And why shouldn't this uncertainty be what God wants. Perhaps Her intention is for you to find Her and learn about Her through your relationship rather than book learned fact? Or perhaps She wants you to find Her by reading between the lines?”
Bonzo
Between the lines I see nothing but white space. My God is not white space. From the beginning He has made Himself known to us by deed and word. He is consistent in character therefore when I read what He did and said in the time of Noah that helps me to understand what He is doing and saying in this time and in my personal relationship with Him now.
Relationships with others, that is knowing them, involves having knowledge about them.

Toby
quote:
“afish, you seem to have either not read what I was saying or deliberately misinterpreted it. I was not talking about the Noah story specifically but the reading of the Bible as a whole as a historical text, and the misuse of 'historical' in this discussion. … If you read the Bible as literal truth you will not be reading it as a historical text because the act of reading something as a historical text involves processing critical interpretation and integrating it with our understanding of changing worldviews.”
No I have not misread nor “deliberately misinterpreted” what you said. I am also talking about The Bible as a whole and put the question about how a 12th century person’s literal interpretation of The Flood would differ from mine because I am genuinely interested in the answer. I doubt that there would be any great difference. A medieval man who read The Bible literally would believed just as I do that God said to Noah “of birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind will come to you to keep them alive.” and that is what happened. The fact that he knew nothing about kangaroos and I do would make no difference.
I don’t read The Bible as an historical text nor as a scientific text. I read it as The Word of God which is historically and scientifically true. In the world there many world-views and many cultures but God’s view of the world and its cultures, as revealed to us in The Bible, is the one by which all things are to be judged.

Jim T.
“ … Noah did not write the story of Noah. Not one single story in the entire book of Genesis was written by the person in the story.” …
“I was taking it as a given that Moses wrote the book of Genesis. Not exactly "breathtaking." The tablet theory is "breathtaking" to my breath at least. You have some other theory?”

It is impossible for us to know for certain who originally wrote out or *did not write out* any part of Genesis. That is why I find breathtaking your assertion that you do know. Was it Moses who was responsible for writing out the whole of Genesis as we now have it? Maybe but it certainly isn’t a given. It is also possible that he also brought together (under God) already existing texts, even text written by Noah.
I haven’t yet looked at The Tablet Theory, mainly because I don’t see any need for a theory. There are only 26 generations between Adam and Moses with wide overlapping. The father of Noah, Lamech was 56 when Adam died. Knowledge was passed from generation to generation then as now. Knowledge of God’s word would have been much more meticulously passed on and safeguarded than the ordinary stuff.

Hamn’Eggs
quote:
“So why did an inerrant God create a world which has errors in it?”
He didn’t. Read your Bible.

Karl
quote:
“If the Holy Spirit guides people in reading the Bible, can't He ensure you gain the truth that was intended to be communicated through these passages?” …
“Incidently, how do you learn about God from say the parable of Dives and Lazarus - or do you propose that in order to learn from this story it also has to be literally true?”

One can find truths in myths and parables sure, *and* also lies. So how do we tell which is which? Yes I too believe that The Holy Spirit guides us into all truth and I have in part experienced that. But the truth within that promise needs careful unpacking. The reality (remember, the place to start from) is that Christians, like everyone else, believe lies and get deceived.
If one came across the story of Lazarus and Dives on it’s own and did not know it had been told by The Lord Jesus and was in The Bible then it might be difficult to decide if is was a parable or a factual account but you might still decided that as a narrative it contained worthwhile truth but equally some one might decided that is was a load of junk. The question is *still* on what basis would you make the decision?

quote:
“The following points are real facts…. You can cast unreasonable doubt on them, sure, but …:
(1) The Earth is, give or take, 4.5 billion years old.
(2) Life has gone through a series of changes. Both morphological and genetic evidence show that these changes have come about through descent with modification.
(3) Whilst a number of sometimes large scale floods can be found in various places and at various times in earth history, there is no support whatsoever for the concept of a world-wide flood at any point, much less during human history.
(4) The above points 1-3 conflict with a literal historical reading of Genesis 1-11.”

Karl, the doubts I cast are in complete accord with my reason which I believe is as reasonable as yours. 1&2 are unverifiable hypotheses, 3 is wide open and on-going and 4 we agree on.
Road runner meets ostrich? No, think it’s more a case of [brick wall] meets [brick wall]

Alan Cresswell
quote:
“Cain's wife is not a question of scientific textual criticism but logic. It's patently obvious that on the basis of the story alone there were only 3 people - Adam, Eve and Cain (and the corpse of Abel) ... yet there are more than 3 people - a wife for Cain and people for him to fear.”
“My experience is that Creationists and other Biblical Literalists tend to add additional details to stories to enable them to be read as literal history without the logical inconsistencies inherent in the stories.”

This really puzzles me. To me it is patently obvious that “in the process of time” (verse 3 of chapter 4), there were many many more than three people around. There is nothing illogical or inconsistent about not giving every contextual detail concerning Cain and his wife. Why should God give us mankind’s complete family tree and earths total population at the time of Cain’s marriage????

Glen Oldham
quote:
“Er, yes afish, but Suetonius (AD69 - c. 122) is one of our sources for that history. The Twelve Caesars is NOT a play and Suetonius was a biographer, but he still uses quite a lot of frankly incredible material in with the more believable history.”
“The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius is a mish mash of more or less historical facts and other stuff that does tell us quite a lot about the real, historical Julius Caesar.”

Well if Suetonius is a biographer yet you judge that a lot of what he says is unbelievable then the question I’ve outlined to Karl comes into play. How do you decide which bits are believable and tell you a lot about the real, historical Julius Ceaser? If you know that Suetonius lies then everything he says is suspect?

><>

--------------------
"Some things are too hot to touch
The human mind can only stand so much"
Bob Dylan

Posts: 168 | From: France | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

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Sorry, this is a long post (but I'm on shore leave so I'm sure you'll forgive me!)

quote:
Originally posted by afish:
But back to the plot. So you are proposing that a 40ish m. rise in sea level caused by rainfall alone is a possibility. Well that doesn’t seem to me to be, “an insignificant amount of water”. Would that have been enough to cover the highest land by 7m.? I don’t know but there is still the water coming up from the fountains of the deep. My conclusion is still that there are just too many unknowns involved for even the best of scientists to state categorically, this could not have happened within the parameters of natural laws.

Well, 40m of water isn't insignificant ... but in terms of a Flood covering the highest mountains it is. Yesterday we took a cable car ride up the side of approximately 1000m of mountain side, starting over 1000m above sea-level. And, that is just a small mountain compared to the Rockies where we're heading later this week. Even to claim that these mountains are recent uplifts you are talking about a colossal amount of mountain building since the Flood to account for them unless the flood waters were several km deep - and compared to even 1km of water an extra 40m give or take makes no difference. Which was my point ... if you're going to stipulate that there was that much water from the "fountains of the deep" then you need to explain that source of water ... going on about a water canopy is relatively pointless; you need to explain the bucket of water not the extra drop.

quote:
Plate tectonics and continental drift is an interesting theory. That S. American bulge just looks so right fitted into that African curve. I have sometimes wondered if, “the earth was divided” in Genesis10:25 refers to the forming of the continents? But having said that I would need to know a lot more about the extent of geological equivalences between continents before I made a transfer from my theory folder to my fact folder.
Well, there are far more bits of evidence than just the shapes of the S American and African coast lines ... continuities of geology in Scotland and N America for example. I'm sure there are some good sites out there which will provide all the data you could possibly want ... but try the academic sites on uni geology depts. Though, ....
quote:
As an evidence of the earth’s age, you are wholly dependent on the dating of rocks being correct (unverifiable) and the assumption (unverifiable) that the drift has been constant at around 4cm a year.
you will find that most academic geology sites will use verified dating techniques within their discussions of plate tectonics. Radio-isotope dating fundamentally relies on one assumption, the same assumption that underlines all of science. That is that the universe functions in accordance with unchanging order such that an experiment performed in different labs or at different times will yield the same result. Basically that if I was to measure the rate of decay of 40K today and got into a time machine and repeated the experiment 10000y ago or a star ship and went to the Andromeda galaxy I would still measure exactly the same half-life for 40K. You may argue that the laws of physics do change, or have been changed by an outside force, but there is no way to actually do science on that basis ... how do you determine how physics works somewhere you can get no data for? As it is, there is a very large, entirely consistant, body of data that unambiguously points to an earth that is 4.5 billion years old (give or take a bit), with a surface formed through processes of plate tectonics and volcanism (with minor additional features like meteor impact) subsequently weathered and eroded, that has always had (at least since there were large continents) very high mountain chains formed by tectonic uplift at plate boundaries. Which brings us back to some of your other points

quote:
Why does some fossilised coral appear to have grown 400 layers in year whereas these days they only grow 365? I don’t know. Is it proof that they are 38,000,000 yrs old? I don’t think so.
You're right, it doesn't, of itself, prove very much. But taken with other evidence the case becomes much stronger. This was introduced as an example of predictions from modelling the tidal interactions between earth and moon that the length of the day is changing, slowly. The laws of physics are clear, if the earth is as ancient as we believe, then if we look at something like coral which records diurnal and annual growth patterns there will be a correlation between age and number of days per year. Which is exactly what we see. If you reject the dating evidence then you need to come up with some other explanation ... science doesn't tend to start looking for additional explanatory variables when there is already a consistant explanation without any unexplained gaps.

quote:
How long is needed to make mountains, form a band of sediment a mile thick and so on? Well, I know this is getting boring but we don’t know.
But, we do know. At least for many cases. We can actually measure the amount of sediment in rivers and how quickly that is accumulating in lake beds or on the ocean floors. We can actually measure the rate of many tectonic processes - there are roads across the San Andreas fault for example where it is possible to see how much it has moved. Now, I know you don't like radio-isotope dating, but that shows very clearly the rate of build up of many geological layers. But, even without radioisotope dating, we can determine long term process rates using luminescence or cosmogenic isotope production methods over the past few thousand years. Again, it comes down to giving a good reason why processes that have been shown to be uniform over time scales of tens of years to several thousand years would be radically different just before then (ie at the time of and shortly after the theorised Flood).

quote:
The questions are these;
Does God sometimes intervened and override the natural laws of the material world?
Can someone who is both a scientist and a Christian legitimately claim that this first question has no bearing whatever on scientific research and theories derived from that research?

And, yes these are the questions. Does God intervene to override the natural laws? I don't know - he certainly can do if He wishes. But has He? Even if He had, it is outside the realms of science to determine that ... the best science can do is say "here's something we don't understand" and a good scientist will add "yet". I don't think it makes any difference here whether a scientist is a Christian or not ... science deals exclusively with the material, introducing the immaterial to the question is not science. If I was to write a paper on the distribution of radioactive materials in the esturine environment of the Solway (which I may well do at some point given the amount of data we've collected there) and postulate that it got there by some supernatural means no scientist would take it seriously because even if we didn't know the process we know the God didn't put it there. There is fundamentally no difference if the paper was relating to a hominid fossil discovered in Africa. I could, as a Christian, of course comment on the ethics of discharging radioactive material into the Irish Sea, or the ethical implications of common ancestry of apes and humans in how we treat chimps. But that's something beyond science.

quote:
As for this Omphalos thing, God is not a deceiver or a trickster but He, in the beginning, certainly made earth exactly however He wanted it.
But, the problem is that science does unambiguously prove that the earth is 4.5 billion years old, and that the biological organisms that live here have evolved through gradual adaptation and variation. If that is not the case, and infact the earth is only a few thousand years old and evolution is false, then God clearly is a deceiver or a trickster.

[Left your UBB coding powers home, did you Alan? [Razz] ]

[ 25. June 2003, 16:14: Message edited by: Scot ]

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dj_ordinaire
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# 4643

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The biologist Theodor Dobzhansky (who is accredited with the maxim that "nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution") rejected creationsism not on scientific grounds but theological ones - he had had an Orthodox upbringing and believed the suggestion that the Lord is capable of deception was heretical.

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JimT

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# 142

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Being old enough to recall the revolution in geology brought about by plate techtonics, I can add to Alan's excellent post that briefly, "sea floor spreading" or the outward movement of sea floor crust from mid oceanic rifts was confirmed via noting symmetric, equally aged bands of magnetic polarity in the rocks on each side of mid-ocean ridges. Having already determined that the earth's magnetic poles periodically reversed polarity, and having developed techniques for measuring the polarity in rocks, scientists measured rock polarity on either side of the ridge. Beautifully symmetric stripes were seen on either side of the ridge, proving as conclusively as can be expected that new crust is created at the ridges, polarizes with the earth's magnetic field, then spreads outward from the ridges. An excellent description, with pictures, can be found here.

Afish, you are right that your interpretation is the same as a 12th century person. Please, won't you join us in this century?

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ken
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# 2460

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Dobzhansky was a hero.

And afish - there were Christian scholars in the Middle Ages who thought the world was very old. Lots of them. Maybe not the majority, but a great many. Some of them even from the 12th century (why pick on the 12th century? A wonderful time for scholarship!)

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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Dear oh dear.

We are going round in circles aren't we?

Is there any point? It doesn't matter what evidence is presented, Afish will say he doesn't think it proves anything. Fortunately, reality doesn't require anyone's sayso to be.

Question: Afish - given that you do not believe we share a common ancestry with apes, do you have an explanation for:

(a) common retriviral insertions between man and apes Here

(b) the Chromosomal fusion event that links our genome with that of the apes. Here and Here (nice pictures in the second link)

I assume that you have scientific models that match the data as well as the mainstream ones? Or is it the case that whilst your "reason is as good as mine", it may be that your reasoning here is not as good as that of mainstream science?

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Ham'n'Eggs

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# 629

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quote:
Originally posted by afish:
Hamn’Eggs
quote:
“So why did an inerrant God create a world which has errors in it?”
He didn’t. Read your Bible.
I did. It says that God created the world. And saw that it was good.

And any observer can see that it has errors in it. For example, defective genes, accounting errors, the actions of people who remove themselves from the gene pool by pissing from bridges onto rail power cables.

Are you going to tell me that all errors are a figment of my imagination?

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Sine Nomine*

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# 3631

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A friend just sent me a link to this fascinating website.

Anyway, I suggest scrolling down to high school level: 2nd Place: "Maximal Packing Of Rodentia Kinds: A Feasibility Study"

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JimT

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# 142

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Folks, you gotta visit Sine's link. Not only do they pack rodents into the ark like sardines but the prove that "Women were Created for Homemaking" (women have a lower center of gravity than men, making them more suited to carrying groceries and laundry baskets; biology shows that women were designed to carry un-born babies in their wombs and to feed born babies milk, making them the natural choice for child rearing; social sciences shows that the wages for women workers are lower than for normal workers, meaning that they are unable to work as well and thus earn equal pay) and they study the Thermodynamics of Hell.
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Glenn Oldham
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# 47

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I'd love to have a look at the site Sine mentions but am I alone in finding that the link leads to http://download.startsurfing.com/ and not to the site shown?
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Glenn Oldham
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# 47

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Darn! I did not mean to post another link to download.startsurfing. I did not use the Instant UBB URL boxes [Mad]

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This entire doctrine is worthless except as a subject of dispute. (G. C. Lichtenberg 1742-1799 Aphorism 60 in notebook J of The Waste Books)

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Chedorlaomer
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# 4611

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Classic! I particularly enjoy the biographies and pen pics. Although taking Paley's name is an unfair slander on Wm Paley himself, I must say. Unfair, but highly amusing! 'Theobiology'! [Killing me]

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Chedorlaomer
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# 4611

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Oh! Sorry for the double post - gotta mention the Zounds! Christian rock ministry.

http://objective.jesussave.us/zounds.html

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Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

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JimT

Ship'th Mythtic
# 142

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We really should stop this tangent but I can't restrain from mentioning that the Youth Rock Ministry of Zounds sells boxer shorts "specifically branded to promote abstinence." "Chastity Shorts" anyone? I submitted it as a "Gadget for God." Thanks Chederlaomer!
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Gracious rebel

Rainbow warrior
# 3523

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quote:
Originally posted by Glenn Oldham:
I'd love to have a look at the site Sine mentions but am I alone in finding that the link leads to http://download.startsurfing.com/ and not to the site shown?

No but for me it led to a dodgy portal site that I sometimes get redirected to. I think I've got some Spyware or something on the PC that sometimes takes over the browser when it is pointed at certain sites.

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Glenn Oldham
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# 47

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quote:
Originally posted by Gracious rebel:
quote:
Originally posted by Glenn Oldham:
I'd love to have a look at the site Sine mentions but am I alone in finding that the link leads to http://download.startsurfing.com/ and not to the site shown?

No but for me it led to a dodgy portal site that I sometimes get redirected to. I think I've got some Spyware or something on the PC that sometimes takes over the browser when it is pointed at certain sites.
Thanks, Gracious Rebel, I'm not a computer whizz and these things are puzzling. i tried going through Google, tried typing in the address myself, all to no avail.

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This entire doctrine is worthless except as a subject of dispute. (G. C. Lichtenberg 1742-1799 Aphorism 60 in notebook J of The Waste Books)

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Glenn Oldham
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# 47

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quote:
Originally posted by
As an evidence of the earth’s age, you are wholly dependent on the dating of rocks being correct (unverifiable) and the assumption (unverifiable) that the drift has been constant at around 4cm a year.

So it is just a coincidence that the estimated time and the measured speed match pretty well is it?

quote:
Why does some fossilised coral appear to have grown 400 layers in year whereas these days they only grow 365? I don’t know. Is it proof that they are 38,000,000 yrs old? I don’t think so.(380 million in fact. G. O.)
So it is just a coincidence then is it that, on the one hand, the physics of the tidal retardation of the earth’s rotation predicts a 400 day year 380 million years ago and that, on the other hand, corals of that date show that pattern?

afish,
Your seem to miss the point of these examples, so perhaps I had better make it as clear as I can and add to Alan Creswell’s earlier point about these kids of examples too.

The point is that the case for modern geology (and for evolution too) does not consist in one short argument; it consists of many different and independent strands of evidence pointing in the same direction. Now it may seem credible to you to take one of these strands and chalk it up to coincidence but that strategy gets less and less credible the more strands you apply it to. It is just too much to expect that these strands should independently support each other so well merely by coincidence. It is, therefore, eminently sane, sensible and reasonable to regard modern geology and evolution as extremely well corroborated and supported. It is unreasonable to dismiss it.

Now lets take a look at your claim that the dating of rocks is unverifiable. I can’t be certain what you mean by that claim, but I imagine that you mean something like this: “radiometric dating gives us an age for the earth, but if we don’t have any other way of telling how old the earth is then we can’t know that the date it tells us is correct so it is unverifiable.” Or you might mean “radiometric dating rests on assumptions about the radioactive decay that we cannot verify as having applied in the past.”

Both of these responses are too glib. There are a whole host of ways that we can test and examine the validity of radiometric dating. If it stands up to scrutiny and fits with other well established science then then we have good grounds for accepting its results.

Those involved with radiometric dating have done an enormous amount of work to test and refine it as a method. Their motivation being that they really want to find out how old the earth is and to do it in the best possible way. A bit of competitiveness is involved here too – lets critique others to see if we can show that they have got it wrong and that we can do it better. (I add that bit about motivation because to listen to some young earthers you might get the impression that scientists aren’t interested in the details of the method as long as they get an old date for the earth.)

As you know radioactive dating is based on the fact that some isotopes of elements are radioactive, that is they decay into another isotope (called the daughter isotope) over time. The time it takes for half of a number of atoms of the isotope to decay to the ‘daughter’ isotope is called the half-life. If we take a piece of rock and measure the number of parent atoms of the isotope and the number of atoms of the daughter isotope then if we can work out how many of the daughter atoms arose from the radioactive decay of the parent isotope we can work out how many parent atoms there were when the rock was formed, how many there are now, and hence using the decay rate (the half life) we can work out how old the rock is.

What can be done to see if this procedure is practical and stands up to criticism?


Can we be sure we know how many daughter atoms were present at the formation of the rock?
  • We can examine the chemistry of the elements involved to identify possible problems so as to exclude those cases where contamination is possible. Lots of work has gone into this. The decay of Potassium 40 to Argon 40 is a good example here because the daughter isotope here is Argon, which is an inert gas and does not chemically react with its surrounding atoms, escapes from molten rock, and gets trapped within crystallised rock. We can thus figure out the rock types where there is almost certainly no argon present when the rock formed.
  • we can find a way around the problem by using isochronicity. Take Rubidium 87’s decay to Strontium 87 as an example. Where a rock forms that contains a number of different minerals then these sometimes differ in the proportions of Rubidium and Strontium that each of the minerals contains. If so we are in luck. The Strontium in the minerals when they are formed will be a mixture of Strontium 87 and Strontium 86. Because Sr 87 and Sr 86 react in exactly the same way, each of the minerals will have the same proportion of Sr 87 to Sr 86. But over time those minerals that have more Rubidium in them will end up with more Sr 87 from decay than will those minerals which have less Rubidium in them. As a result when we measure the amounts of Sr 87, Sr 86 and Rb 87 in each of the minerals we can work out what the original proportion of Sr 87 to Sr 86 must have been for each of the minerals to have ended up with the proportions it has now. So we can be certain that we know the right starting amounts.

Can we be sure that the decay rates have been constant
  • lots of experiments have been done subjecting decay rates to tests and checks to see if they can be affected. Nothing significant has been found (for more info see How to Change decay rates
  • quantum theory does not predict significant problems with the decay rate;
Are there other checks we can make?
  • Try different isotope systems such as (1) Uranium 238 / Lead 206 with Uranium 238 / Lead 206; (2) Potassium 40 / Argon 40; (3) Rubidium 87 / Strontium 87 And try them on rocks from different stratas
    Results: remarkable agreement. Coincidence? Surely not for so many different cases. Is there then some circular reasoning involved in the theory being used? Like what exactly? These are different elements with different chemistries and yet they give results that agree. Where is the circularity?
  • cross check with other measurements and predictions such as:
  • As said before, physics predicts that 380 million years ago the earth rotated about 400 days a year. Corals in strata dated to that age show a layering pattern that shows a repeating pattern of 400 layers per longer repeating pattern.
  • As said before, fossil and rock evidence suggests that Africa and South America were once joined and split up 100 million years ago. Satellite measurements of the rate of spread of the South Atlantic show a 4 cm per year divergence, which, over 100 million years, would give a spread of 4,000 kilometres, which is about right.
  • Many elements have isotopes that are radioactive and which decay over time. Some isotopes are formed here and now by cosmic rays or when other isotopes decay, but if we disregard them and look for those that are left over from when the earth was formed we are faced with an odd situation. This is that all such naturally occurring isotopes we can find have half-lives of over 80 million years. We know from work in atomic energy that there are many isotopes with shorter half lives that can exist (we can make them). Why can’t we find them if the earth is less than 10,000 years old? Where are, for example the eleven isotopes that have half-lives between a million and 70 million years? Surely this is a startlingly big clue to the fact that either the earth is very old, or else that God has a twisted sense of humour?
  • The relative ages of the rock strata found using stratigraphy fits with the absolute ages assigned to them.
  • The ages of the rock strata fit well with the timescale that evolution is likely to need.

Given all these points and all that extensive work having been done the claim that the results are ‘unverifiable’ begs the question how can you discount so much evidence? (for further info see A radiometric dating resource list )

And given all this: with the earth so old and the flood so recent then the idea that there were no maountains and enough water to have a global flood becomes even more ridiculous. We have excellent evidence for continental drift and plate tectonics causing mountain building billions of years ago.

Glenn

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This entire doctrine is worthless except as a subject of dispute. (G. C. Lichtenberg 1742-1799 Aphorism 60 in notebook J of The Waste Books)

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afish
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# 1135

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Glen O.
An impressive post, interesting to read but raising far more questions than it settles. Let’s focus on this radiometric dating then as it seems to be a main strand by which hangs and holds together the whole, “billions of years of incremental but constant evolution” model.

First of all, to make sure that I’ve got it right, let me express my understanding of radiometric dating as the following formula, where Ua=parent isotope and Ub=daughter isotope:

Then 15Ua {{{========time taken for5Ua to change to5Ub=========={{{Now 10Ua+5Ub.

So the questions that your post has stirred up:
1.Does one element really change to another (potassium to argon etc)? I was taught that the transmution of one element into another was the stuff of alchemy.
2.If this is the case, where is predictability? What about reversibility? What about as yet unknown transmutations?
3.If we stick with isotopes of one element, how has the change been measured and over what period of time? Surely it can’t have been over more than a few decades and therefore the changes involved, I would have thought, verging on the immeasurable?
4.What do we know about this process of decay/change? Why does one atom change and not another. Is the process spread evenly throughout the rock (every other atom) or is it concentrated near the surface or far from the surface? Why doesn’t Sr87 eventually change to St86 or in general why isn’t there a whole range of isotopes for any given element running from the highest number to the lowest?
5.How can we know the composition of the original material or how it was formed or what processes/events it’s been through to get to us? How do you know which isotopes are “leftover from when the earth was formed” and those that are formed by cosmic rays (some thing else to stir up questions) or from the influence of other isotopes?
6.Are you saying that no rocks have been formed since 80,000,000 yrs ago? What about the stuff that has come out of volcanoes?
7.Can we be sure that decay rates have been constant? Your answer is that a lot of experiments have been done and nothing significant has been found. My answer is no of course we can’t. It’s an unverifiable assumption.

Your definitions of what I might mean by unverifiable were accurate enough. Theories about electricity are verifiable. We can turn physical motion into electric current and electrical current into physical motion. We can do it in real time, measure, record and repeat what happens and know that the theories conforms to practice and vica versa. That is not possible with a statement like, “This rock is x million of years old.” It is a statement which is based on extrapolating backwards from what that rock is now based on a particular theory using particular techniques and measurements. It seems to me that in the best meaning of the word radiometric dating is questionable. Its conclusions about the age of the earth are certainly unverifiable.
Right it’s too warm and muggy for anymore of this. Time for something a bit more frothy.
I’ll respond to other stuff later (God willing).
><>

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The human mind can only stand so much"
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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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quote:
Originally posted by afish:
Glen O.
An impressive post, interesting to read but raising far more questions than it settles. Let’s focus on this radiometric dating then as it seems to be a main strand by which hangs and holds together the whole, “billions of years of incremental but constant evolution” model.

First of all, to make sure that I’ve got it right, let me express my understanding of radiometric dating as the following formula, where Ua=parent isotope and Ub=daughter isotope:

Then 15Ua {{{========time taken for5Ua to change to5Ub=========={{{Now 10Ua+5Ub.

So the questions that your post has stirred up:
1.Does one element really change to another (potassium to argon etc)? I was taught that the transmution of one element into another was the stuff of alchemy.

It does change to another. You were taught wrong. This is also what Rutherford achieved when he split a large atom into two smaller ones.

quote:
2.If this is the case, where is predictability?
It's predictable on a statistical level - if I have a billion C14 atoms, I can be absolutely sure that 50% of them will have decayed after 1 half life. If I have only a single atom, I can only say it's 50% likely to have decayed after 1 half life, but it could decay now, it could decay only after a billion years.

quote:
What about reversibility? What about as yet unknown transmutations?
Reversability? You're working against the fact that the decayed form is more stable than the undecayed form. It's a bit like a book shelf with too many books on it - sooner or later it collapses. You wouldn't suggest that it can also spontaneously put itself back on complete with books. "Yet unknown trasmutations"? Well, they might exist, but they must be rather uncommon or we'd have found out about them the same way as we've found out about the existing ones. What you need to look for are nuclear reactions that aren't in conformity with existing known transformations. If you find one, there could be a Nobel Physics Prize in it for you.

quote:
3.If we stick with isotopes of one element, how has the change been measured and over what period of time? Surely it can’t have been over more than a few decades and therefore the changes involved, I would have thought, verging on the immeasurable?
Not really. You've got billions of atoms in a sample; even something with a collosal half life in the billions of years is still decaying. A geiger counter can measure an individual decay. It's not hard to count the number of decays per second from a known quantity of a nuclear isotope.

quote:
4.What do we know about this process of decay/change?
Quite a lot. But this really isn't the place for an advanced physics lesson. You realise a good understanding of this takes up bookshelves, don't you?

quote:
Why does one atom change and not another.
Quantum. Another bookshelf, nay, library, sized topic.

quote:
Is the process spread evenly throughout the rock (every other atom) or is it concentrated near the surface or far from the surface?
As evenly distributed as the isotope is within the sample. An atom has an equal probability of decaying regardless of where it is in the sample.

quote:
Why doesn’t Sr87 eventually change to St86
Because this would require a decay of a single neutron. Such decays do not occur - unless they're one of your "unknown transformations". Atoms decay either by a neutron becoming a proton, emitting an electron (beta particle), or by emitting a package of two protons and two neutrons (alpha particle). The former raises the atomic number by 1, the latter drops it by two and drops the atomic weight (that's the number after the element's symbol) by four.

Actually, stray neutrons can be released by atomic fission (this is how atomic explosions are propogated) but not by decay processes.

quote:
or in general why isn’t there a whole range of isotopes for any given element running from the highest number to the lowest?
Quantum considerations prevent certain configurations (this is another library sized topic). Some are so unstable they don't even form, some are so unstable they decay almost immediately.

quote:
5.How can we know the composition of the original material or how it was formed or what processes/events it’s been through to get to us? How do you know which isotopes are “leftover from when the earth was formed” and those that are formed by cosmic rays (some thing else to stir up questions) or from the influence of other isotopes?
We know the decay chains of isotopes from experiment. We can observe in the lab the effect of cosmic rays in forming new isotopes. This is all well attested science, not cutting edge discoveries.

quote:
6. you saying that no rocks have been formed since 80,000,000 yrs ago? What about the stuff that has come out of volcanoes?
No-one's saying that at all. The point about the non-existent short period isotopes is that they do not exist because they have decayed away. They are not formed when the rock is formed; they are formed in the hearts of stars where planets are born.

quote:
7.Can we be sure that decay rates have been constant? Your answer is that a lot of experiments have been done and nothing significant has been found. My answer is no of course we can’t.
Why can't we? If something varies, why can't we measure the variation.

But there's more to it than that. Decay rates are dependent upon a whole load of physical constants - constants whose variation would not make for a universe that resembles ours in any way - or even necessarily be viable.

quote:
It’s an unverifiable assumption.
So is the assumption we make that haemoglobin will carry oxygen tomorrow just like it does today.

quote:
Your definitions of what I might mean by unverifiable were accurate enough. Theories about electricity are verifiable. We can turn physical motion into electric current and electrical current into physical motion. We can do it in real time, measure, record and repeat what happens and know that the theories conforms to practice and vica versa. That is not possible with a statement like, “This rock is x million of years old.” It is a statement which is based on extrapolating backwards from what that rock is now based on a particular theory using particular techniques and measurements. It seems to me that in the best meaning of the word radiometric dating is questionable. Its conclusions about the age of the earth are certainly unverifiable.
(God willing).
><>

All the processes and laws upon which the dating is based are verifiable the way you define. You realise that by writing off radiometric dating in this way you are also denying the validity of forensic science? Should we open the prisons and let out all those convicted on forensic evidence, since their convictions were based on exactly the same sort of backwards extrapolation that you say makes radiometric dating unreliable?

Not meaning this final question as an insult, or with any disrespect, but some of your questions imply you know very little about the physics behind this area of science. Why is it, therefore, that you feel qualified to attempt to discredit the work of those who understand it very well indeed?

--------------------
Might as well ask the bloody cat.

Posts: 17938 | From: Chesterfield | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Amelie
Shipmate
# 4138

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There've been some interesting things said in this discussion. I don't know if this will help at all, but I used to be a Young Earther, and believed in a world wide flood. The reason I changed my mind was through doing Biology and Geography at university. At first, like afish, I could rationalise away many of the 'proofs' that were presented, but in the end the sheer number of them made me give way. At first I moved to a position of 'God made the world and I don't know how he did it'. This allowed me to keep my view of an inerrent bible, but without having to try and make science fit with a seven day creation and a global flood which it doesn't do. Later, through reading things like this discussion, I discovered that there were different ways of interpreting Genesis, so that I could believe that God did use the processes science describes to create the world.

The main evidence that swung it for me was when I did paleo-ecology and had to study the ice-ages. Like others on this thread have been saying, there are many independant strands of evidence that corroborate each other. Standing in a field looking at a core that had just been taken out of the earth showing dark soil then grey stuff then soil etc for ages, was pretty conclusive. In the first layer you could identify by changes in colour when changes in agriculture had occured, so the dating of the first layer could be corroborated through historical records. The next layer was sediment that would have been deposited during the ice age. I thought it might have been put there by a flood, but then there was another layer of organic deposits, followed by more ice age deposits, and the pattern continued. We took the core back to the lab and had to analyse it for pollen. The pollen we found in the first section corresponded with the guesses we'd made about changes in agriculture.

The pollen that can be found in the other layers corresponded with other studies about changes in temperature over millions of years. For example, other cores like ours from various place over Europe, which show it isn't a localised phenomenon. These correspond with ice cores, which show different proportions of O18 and O16 depending on the temperature. They also correspond with much of worlds geology. When Milancovitch proposed a theory to try and explain these huge shifts from cold to warm periods in the earths history, he used a method based on working out the cycles of the earth round the sun, and the tilt of the earths axis, using maths and physics which fitted these observations really well. These are totally different areas of science that back each other up really well. We had reading lists of hundreds of papers (the lecturer was over keen!) which showed many examples confiming the idea of multiple ice ages. The research wasn't perfect, and much still needs to be done, but where there were holes in the research other people pointed them out, and where there was dissent, people were trying to find the answers. Overall though, the evidence was quite impressive!

There was no space in any of this for a global flood. So I stopped believing in one. I also found out that alot of what I'd read in Creationist literature was wrong. For example, I read somewhere that people had used carbon dating to test something that had died the day before and they dated it to millions of years old. Ha! I thought, this discredits that dating method. However, when I studied carbon dating, I was taught from the start that no scientist in their right mind would use it to date anything less that 50 years old because of the huge increase in radioactivity there's been. So either they were lying, or they knew very little about science. Either way, it made me very suspicious of their claims.

There are people here who know much more about what I just described that I do, but I thought it might help to explain why I found I could no longer believe in a global flood. I can understand scepticism at certain bits of evidence because no one can be absolutely sure. In the end it was the sheer number of things I had to explain away, that made me think I was barking up the wrong tree. I hope this helps.

Posts: 58 | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Glenn Oldham
Shipmate
# 47

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Karl,
Many thanks for responding to afish's list of questions!

Amelie,
Thanks for your post which is an excellent illustrationn of the kind of cumulative case which many of us on this thread have been arguing for!

I loved the film of your name by the way.

Glenn

Posts: 910 | From: London, England | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Glenn Oldham
Shipmate
# 47

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quote:
Originally posted by Karl - Liberal Backslider:


quote:
2.If this is the case, where is predictability?
It's predictable on a statistical level - if I have a billion C14 atoms, I can be absolutely sure that 50% of them will have decayed after 1 half life.

Not absolutely sure, of course, but sure that it is very very very likely to be close to 50%. It is like tossing a billion pennies into the air. How many will come down heads? Very nearly 50% of them.
G

Posts: 910 | From: London, England | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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I left the "as near as damn it" out for simplicity. You are of course correct. It's no more really than the law of large numbers...

--------------------
Might as well ask the bloody cat.

Posts: 17938 | From: Chesterfield | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Glenn Oldham
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# 47

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quote:
Originally posted by Karl - Liberal Backslider:
I left the "as near as damn it" out for simplicity. You are of course correct. It's no more really than the law of large numbers...

Yes indeed, I thought I'd pick it up before afish did.

This looks like a very good and thorough article:
Radiometric Dating a Christian Perspective by Wiens

Glenn

Posts: 910 | From: London, England | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
afish
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# 1135

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Karl et al
quote:
“We are going round in circles aren't we?
Is there any point? It doesn't matter what evidence is presented, Afish will say he doesn't think it proves anything. Fortunately, reality doesn't require anyone's say so to be.”

Yes we are but we’ve explored some interesting terrain in doing so. This will be my last post on this thread. Assumption that are unverifiable remain unverifiable however many strands of “evidence” are woven around them. This is reality.

I’ve been exploring some of the given links and am much more aware of the larger debate than I was. I have given more or less equal time to both sides but have, in the end, been encouraged to find that others more knowledgeable than me are pointing to the same structural flaws in Darwin’s Ark floating on its oceans of time, that seem obvious to me, a know-nothing.

The following typifies for me the soft underbelly of the, Noah is myth - Evolution is fact, brigade.
quote:
“Question: Afish - given that you do not believe we share a common ancestry with apes, do you have an explanation for:
…
(b) the Chromosomal fusion event that links our genome with that of the apes.”

What does this boil down to? The fact that humans have a chromosome that in its sequencing would matches the sequencing of two chimp chromosomes *if* there had been a bit of an overlap and fusion of the two chimp chromosomes. From this one fact plus an *if* the scientist? makes these assertions;

quote:
“Not only is this strong evidence for a fusion event, but it is also strong evidence for common ancestry; in fact, it is hard to explain by any other mechanism.
Even more telling is the fact that on the 2q arm of the human chromosome 2 is the unmistakable remains of the original chromosome centromere of the common ancestor of human and chimp 2q chromosome, at the same position as the chimp 2q centromere (this structure in humans no longer acts as a centromere for chromosome 2.
Conclusion The evidence that human chromosome 2 is a fusion of two of the common ancestor's chromosomes is overwhelming.”

Well here sits one who is completely under whelmed. Why the need for a “mechanism” or a “fusion event”? Why does a lot of commonality in sequencing between humans and chimps need any other explanation than that physically there is a lot of similarity between the two. You know, arms, legs, head, the systems for breathing, circulation, reproduction. One fact and an if is not overwhelming and it certainly doesn’t meet my criterion of what science should be.
quote:
“ … some of your questions imply you know very little about the physics behind this area of science. Why is it, therefore, that you feel qualified to attempt to discredit the work of those who understand it very well indeed?”
True, when it comes to the observation and measurement of atoms of matter I know nothing other than what I’m told by other. But I think I’m as qualified as the rest of the human race to spot an assertion based on nothing but an if, assumptions that cannot be verified and hypotheses being presented as factual reality. The “many strands of evidence” that “disprove” The Flood and “prove” Evolution contain, without doubt, a lot of real science but what has been woven with those strands is a veil over the face of reality.
Time is short. Go well.
><>

--------------------
"Some things are too hot to touch
The human mind can only stand so much"
Bob Dylan

Posts: 168 | From: France | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by afish:
The following typifies for me the soft underbelly of the, Noah is myth - Evolution is fact, brigade.
quote:
“Question: Afish - given that you do not believe we share a common ancestry with apes, do you have an explanation for:
…
(b) the Chromosomal fusion event that links our genome with that of the apes.”

What does this boil down to? The fact that humans have a chromosome that in its sequencing would matches the sequencing of two chimp chromosomes *if* there had been a bit of an overlap and fusion of the two chimp chromosomes. From this one fact plus an *if* the scientist? makes these assertions;

quote:
“Not only is this strong evidence for a fusion event, but it is also strong evidence for common ancestry; in fact, it is hard to explain by any other mechanism.
Even more telling is the fact that on the 2q arm of the human chromosome 2 is the unmistakable remains of the original chromosome centromere of the common ancestor of human and chimp 2q chromosome, at the same position as the chimp 2q centromere (this structure in humans no longer acts as a centromere for chromosome 2.
Conclusion The evidence that human chromosome 2 is a fusion of two of the common ancestor's chromosomes is overwhelming.”

Well here sits one who is completely under whelmed. Why the need for a “mechanism” or a “fusion event”? Why does a lot of commonality in sequencing between humans and chimps need any other explanation than that physically there is a lot of similarity between the two. You know, arms, legs, head, the systems for breathing, circulation, reproduction. One fact and an if is not overwhelming and it certainly doesn’t meet my criterion of what science should be.

Be whelmed.

Do you know what a centromere is?

It isn't a piece of DNA that codes for things used for breathing etc - those turn up in almost all organisms. It is a length of DNA that acts (literally) as a sort of handle. Enzymes grab hold of it to move the chromosome around during cell division and so on. It is structural.

So finding a redundant one is very striking.

It's like a house with a bricked-up window. No-one would build such a thing from scratch, so when you see one it is good evidence that there used to be a window there, and the building has been modified since it was originally designed. This redundant centromere is a sort of bricked-up window. One of very, very, many that have been found. They are very strong support for a hypothesis of descent with modification.

There are other even more strikingly unlikely things in the genome. For example there is a gene called Alu that is a dud copy of a gene coding for a small piece of RNA. It does nothing. Humans typically have over a million of them, each. Lying around uselessly. Other primates have similar sequences. There are hundreds of such coincidences between the genomes of closely related species. The numbers involved are huge - the unlikelihood of such sequences turning up other than by common descent is immense.

You need to use that kind of maths you use for working out how likely hands of cards are. People who study card games calculate the odds of getting various combinations. The odds against some of the errors and non-coding DNA turning up twice by accident are tiny.

Posts: 39579 | From: London | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
JimT

Ship'th Mythtic
# 142

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Well it looks like this thread will end with a whimper instead of a bang. It's too bad that afish concluded with a polarity of Noah is a myth vs. Evolution is a fact. He has no trouble finding something in evolution that is not concrete fact but very likely to a fully informed scientist but not him. This leaves him with what he has set up as the polar opposite: perhaps Noah is fact if evolution is not. This is the path to truth?

Noah is myth or Noah is not myth. The earth is more likely four thousand years old or four billion years old. Humans evolved from non-humans or they did not. These polarities cannot be mixed up to find truth. To say, "I see what appears to be a flaw in one of the statements about human evolution, therefore Noah is fact" is nonsensical reasoning. Truth cannot be found in this manner; preconceptions can be weakly defended with it though.

I just read Hume for the first time and noted that he found 250 years ago, ardent believers in religion who exhibit an ultra-scepticism in matters of science to the point that truth and religion both are thwarted. It is a good observation.

Posts: 2619 | From: Now On | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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Ken has pointed out the significance of the chromosomal fusion evidence. We could introduce a load of other evidence -

* The twin nested hierarchy - complete with the interesting fact that the DNA of the coelocanth is more similar to that of the human than the herring - totally in accordance with evolutionary theory that sees tetrapods as evolving from the coelocanth's ancient relatives.

* Common retroviral insertions. The fact that we share many of these with chimps, fewer with gorillas, fewer still with orang-utans and so on and so forth - again confirming the twin nested hierarchy. Does it become a triplet nested hierarchy now?

* The therapsid series, clearly showing the migration of the reptilian jaw joint to the mammalian inner ear, whilst a new joint articulation forms for the mammal.

But all of it is as naught, for the mindset of the creationist is, and always is, "if I can find a way not to accept the clear implications of this evidence, regardless of how unlikely my alternative model is, I will prefer my alternative."

--------------------
Might as well ask the bloody cat.

Posts: 17938 | From: Chesterfield | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
JimT

Ship'th Mythtic
# 142

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quote:
Originally posted by Karl - Liberal Backslider:
...the mindset of the creationist is, and always is, "if I can find a way not to accept the clear implications of this evidence, regardless of how unlikely my alternative model is, I will prefer my alternative."

To which I would add, "and declare it as equal in validity."
Posts: 2619 | From: Now On | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Wood
The Milkman of Human Kindness
# 7

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quote:
Originally posted by JimT:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl - Liberal Backslider:
...the mindset of the creationist is, and always is, "if I can find a way not to accept the clear implications of this evidence, regardless of how unlikely my alternative model is, I will prefer my alternative."

To which I would add, "and declare it as equal in validity."
"More valid because it agrees with my interpretation of Scriptiure," surely?

--------------------
Narcissism.

Posts: 7842 | From: Wood Towers | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Glenn Oldham
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# 47

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afish,
You will appreciate then that for many of us it seems that, whilst there is a cumulative case for geology, the old earth and for evolution, where is the cumulative case for the literal truth of the Noah story? Where did the water come from? Where did it go? If mountains were raised up how fast did this happen and how? How is radioactive dating explained if it is NOT evidence for an old earth? How are the extraordinary genetic similarities and differences in DNA sequences get explained (similarity of structure won't do). Where did all the sedimentary rock come from? Why are the fossils arranged as they are? Why are there no pterodactyls in with the fossil birds? How did all the creatures fit in the ark and get managed by 8 people?

And you talk about unverifiablity!

Glenn

Posts: 910 | From: London, England | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Glenn Oldham
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# 47

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quote:
Originally posted by afish:
This will be my last post on this thread.

Yes, we all have lives to lead off the ship (I hope!). Thanks for your many posts and for your engagement with the issues afish!

Glenn

Posts: 910 | From: London, England | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
markporter
Shipmate
# 4276

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thanks for all the responses on the thread guys...its been really helpful. I have to admit that I'm beginning to think that evolution is the most likely scenario....but can I have a stab at Karl's chromosome 2 thing, just for the fun of it?

How about that we start with some sort of common design between apes and humans, and then after that we see the merging of the two chromosomes? so then a fusion event of this kind would be preserved, but you wouldn't have the descent. Not that I necessarily hold this view, I just wanted to put it forward.

Posts: 1309 | From: Oxford | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged



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