Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Big Thanks!

I am most grateful to David R Vinson, one of my readers, for generously purchasing me a copy of The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution by Sean B. Carroll. What a lovely surprise it was to receive that in the post - it went straight to the top of my reading list. And what a great read it is! Many, many thanks David, I am so grateful!

I'm not yet finished; I'm still enjoying the book, and thus far it has been a truly enlightening, fun and deeply informative read. Carroll manages to make complex matters understandable to 'interested lay' non-scientists like myself. Arguably it makes the case for descent with modification a too-tough-to-crack nut - a fact many dogmatic creationist conservatives are going to have to start to wake-up to.

It is no secret that I am now a convinced evolutionist. I explained some of my reasons here, if you remember. However, I was actually converted to Christ after listening to a tape on creationism by 'Answers in Genesis' Ken Ham, and I will always be grateful to him for that. 'Crikey', I thought, 'if the bible is scientifically true I can believe in Jesus'. Young people – I was about 16 then – tend not to be too strong at holding tensions and subtleties together. All or nothing. Either seven day creation or Jesus didn't rise from the dead. Mr Ham did me a service at that stage in my intellectual development and through him I came to saving faith in Christ. Hence I am reluctant to directly critique the content of his webpage. Though this article almost provoked a somewhat ungracious poke once upon a time.

My interest in evolution and creationism thus goes deep. This morning I watched a Penn and Teller show debunking Creationism (watch the video here) and I'm now starting to nevertheless think that a 'kid gloves' approach to creationism needs to change amongst responsible theologians. We need to start standing up for truth instead of taking peace measures with the damaging rhetoric of 'young earthers' and the like; we need to vigorously point out the biblical and scientific flaws in creationist argumentation until the message is clear that there are plenty of us evangelicals who are joyfully committed to the authority and inspiration of scripture but are nevertheless deeply convinced by evolutionary theory.

OK, I'm actually not so convinced that will help dyed-in-the-wool creationists, but it sure felt good to write that last sentence.

Oh, and do have a look at this blog if you are interested in such matters.

While on a related subject, from early on dinosaurs always fascinated me. This television series is one of my favourites. Enjoy. And thanks again, David!

Artwork from


At 8/17/2007 4:17 AM, Anonymous Josh McManaway said...

Why do you want to make the baby Jesus cry? Why, Chris?! Jesus hates evolution. Literal interpretation of Scripture is the ONLY way to go. Yes, Jesus was literally a door and a vine and He hated evolution then!

At 8/17/2007 5:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"professing to be wise...they became fools."

After reading this blog for quite some time as an anon who rarely ever comments...I'm constantly amazed at the distorted way the posts and comments take arguments and change the rules of interpretation of Scripture by their understanding and reasoning for their belief in a certain subject...instead of letting the word speak for themselves.

You're probably right Chris...God could never create this world and universe in 6 days...He's just not big enough or powerful enough to do that...I guess my question would be; If God's not big enough, what's your point in doing all this? What makes you decide which Sciptures to believe and which ones should you not believe? hmmm...I guess those are stupid questions. Since God wasn't big enough to create the world in 6 days, around 6,000 years ago...He's not big enough to make sure the Scriptures actually say what He meant. Sorry for intruding my thoughts to the wise and especially for all this babble.

At 8/17/2007 7:22 AM, Anonymous Cliff Martin said...

Actually, my freind anonymous, Chris's God is way bigger than anything you've ever imagined. Of course he could have done everything (including planting loads of evidence to the contrary!) in 6 days! But try to imagine, if you can, doing it all in one split second, and watching it faithfully unfold over 14 billions years. Such a God is infinitely bigger than the God of 6 day creation, if you ask me.

~ Cliff, another "evangelical who is joyfully committed to the authority and inspiration of scripture but nevertheless deeply convinced by evolutionary theory."

At 8/17/2007 7:51 AM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Josh, I repent in sack cloth and ashes!

Anon, thanks for reading my blog! "You're probably right Chris...God could never create this world and universe in 6 days".
That is not what I said, nor what I would claim. Love, as Paul said in 1 Cor 13, delights in the truth.

"Cliff, another "evangelical who is joyfully committed to the authority and inspiration of scripture but nevertheless deeply convinced by evolutionary theory.""
May your tribe increase!

At 8/17/2007 10:55 AM, Anonymous Nick said...

Can I just say I find evolutionary theory contrary in important ways to biblical teaching, even though I am not a literal 6 day creationist, but I'm just not mad about it? We're a small group, but we are always looking for more members.

At 8/17/2007 2:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh the wisdom and knowledge of man! After reading your blog Cliff, I certainly can understand your quest for those answers. I believe in evolution, just not 14 billion years of it! Since you're from the upper west corner, I assume you were around when Mt. St. Helen's erutpted? Science confirmed that all the animals that were petrified during that explosion tested to be thousands of thousands of years old...yet, they knew they had just died and were petrified during that explosion. These common testings and samples by scientists are so many times being revealed (as we learn more)to be inaccurate. It's fairly obvious, man has little wisdom or knowledge to understand the ways of God.

I believe Scripture (which to acknowledge the comment of Josh), Jesus makes a great door and vine...
and to Chris, sorry I misunderstood...are you saying: God created the world in 6 days and then there were billions of years that man and all evolved?

At 8/17/2007 4:21 PM, Anonymous Cliff Martin said...


I am interested in knowing what ways evolutionary theory is contrary to biblical teaching. Please expound.


Yes, I am familiar with the work ICR did at Mt. St. Helens. In fact, during the 1980s, I was totally convicned by the Young Earth arguments. So I followed the work of Dr. Steven Austin and others very closely. Scientists have always known of these unusual conditions that can exaggerate dating mechanisms. But on the whole, the evidence God left us showing the age of the universe and the antiquity of life on this planet is quite conclusive, and I can no longer support young earth science.

But, like you, I love the Bible. I love and follow Jesus. And I admire you for the passion with which you hold to your position!

~ Cliff

At 8/17/2007 7:08 PM, Anonymous J. Clark said...

Who can have such confidence to know the physical origin of the universe? On science's terms, how could you know such a thing? Hume said you cannot be sure the sun would rise tomorrow then how could you know the sun was birthed x# years ago? If the young earth creationist is a fool for ignoring evidence (and he is) the evolutionist is a fool for his confidence (certainty). When a flower becomes a man (and we observe and measure it) and we can all hold hands and eat popcorn at the big bang then maybe we can be confident (certain). For then, we would have used the scientific method (observing and measuring) and could say with Sagan, "the universe is billion and billions..." Until then, we should be honest and humble and not caught up in such trivialities.

At 8/17/2007 8:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was deep j. clark. But I'm not sure God has done anything that is trivial...and I would guess our pursuit to answer, question, and debate each other is something that He would inspire...which again, would not be trivial if we are created in His image.

Cliff, I totally understand where you are, but I would still challenge the "ways and knowledge of man". Keep walking with Jesus.

At 8/17/2007 11:39 PM, Anonymous J. Clark said...

The debate is not trivial, it is the posturing that is. Everyman is grasping for the keys to Heaven so that the other may not enter. Humility is a pie served bitter.
God questions Job on his alibi during the origins: Job 38:31 "Can you bind the beautiful Pleiades? Can you loose the cords of Orion? 32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs?"

At 8/18/2007 4:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Posturing and grasping for the keys of heaven so that the others may not enter? Sorry, but I'm one of those that believe that Jesus is Saviour of ALL mankind...Humility is a pie served bitter...Seems we all need a bit of it.

At 8/18/2007 5:30 AM, Anonymous Josh McManaway said...

Thank you, Anonymous. I'm glad *someone* around here is reading their Bible and knows that Jesus wasn't being theological with that door and vine business.

At 8/18/2007 8:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Currently, ... I see a somewhat fierce debate raging between so-called "creationism" and evolutionism, presented as though they were mutually exclusive alternatives: those who believe in the Creator would not be able to conceive of evolution, and those who instead support evolution would have to exclude God. This antithesis is absurd because, on the one hand, there are so many scientific proofs in favor of evolution which appears to be a reality we can see and which enriches our knowledge of life and being as such. But on the other, the doctrine of evolution does not answer every query, especially the great philosophical question: where does everything come from? And how did everything start which ultimately led to man?

... reason should be more open, ... it should indeed perceive these facts but also realize that they are not enough to explain all of reality. They are insufficient.

Pope Benedict

At 8/20/2007 9:22 AM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Those of you here who are not persuaded about evolution - I would suggest you read this book. As for the rhetoric of professing to be wise, wisdom of knowledge of man etc., wisdom would be at least to read this book an consider its arguments, no? Or is wisdom to know before hand all of the answers? By the way, I think the use of this 'wisdom of man' language in this context misunderstands how it was used in the scriptures.


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