Thanks for your message. When I was running my recently terminated Internet discussion list, CreationEvolutionDesign I used to `kill two birds with one stone' and copy private messages I received on creation, evolution and design topics to my list, after removing the sender's personal identifying information and replacing his/her name with "AN" (for ANonymous). I had thought that would not work with my blog of the same name that replaced my list, but I have had second thoughts and will give it a try. I imagine that a lot of readers could be interested in basic questions. You are welcome to make comments to the blog post, anonymously if you wish.
On Sat, 6 Aug 2005 14:45:35 +0800, AN wrote:
>My name is AN, I came across your internet article on common ancestory while I was doing a Google search for something else. I was very interested in your views. It's still an open question for me, but I do appreciate the distinction you make between common ancestry and naturalistic evolution. I wonder if there were muliple ancestors, as opposed to a single common ancester, which were the precursors to the Biblical kinds.
And an especial thanks that you can see "the distinction" that I "make between common ancestry and naturalistic evolution." Most (both creationist and evolutionist) in my experience cannot (or will not) see that distinction.
As for "Biblical kinds" , the Bible doesn't means anything scientific by it. The Hebrew word "min" just means kinds, like someone would say in English (e.g. "there are different kinds of trees and flowers in that forest"), without meaning anything about their taxonomic classification:
"min. Kind. The word min occurs in thirty-one passages (chiefly Gen 1, 6, 7; Lev 11; Deut 14), thirty of which belong to Moses' Pentateuch. The other one is Ezk 47:10. The etymology of min cannot be established with certainty. ... Some have argued that when God created min, he thereby fixed the `species.' This is a gratuitous assumption because a link between the word min with the biologist's descriptive term species cannot be substantiated, and because there are as many definitions of species as there are biologists. In light of the distinctions made in Gen 1, such as the distinction between herbs and grasses which are, however, members of the same class (Angiosperms), it is possible that in some cases the biblical term min may indicate a broader group, such as an order. Elsewhere, in Lev 11:14, 15, 16, 19, 22 (four times), min appears consistently as equivalent to nothing broader than genus. However, Lev 11:4 `the falcon after its kind,' and 11:16 `the hawk after its kind,' refer to divisions within the order Falconiformes, yet both have subdivisions called min. Likewise, as Payne points out, the locust, bald locust, cricket*, and grasshopper all belong to the order Orthoptera and the locust, bald locust, and grasshopper belong to the family Acridiidae, but again each has its subdivisions called min (genus?). God created the basic forms of life called min which can be classified according to modern biologists and zoologists as sometimes species, sometimes genus, sometimes family or order." (Kaiser W.C., "min. Kind," in Harris R.L., Archer G.L. & Waltke B.K., eds, "Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament," , Moody Press: Chicago IL, 1992, Twelfth Printing, Vol. I, pp.503-504).* This does not make it clear that while they are in the same order (Orthoptera) of insects (class Insecta of phylum Arthropoda) as locusts and grasshoppers, crickets are in a different family (Gryllidae) from them.
AN>I was quite surprised to find that you are a fellow Perth resident. I live in […] and fellowship at [church] in […]. I've been a YECer most of my Christian life until a few years ago when I got involved on the discussions boards at [...]. Needless to say I was greatly challenged and a lot of my thinking changed. I would now describe myself as OEC with ID as a key foundation of my scientific understanding of origins.
OK. I have never been a YEC, even though I was converted to Christ (at age 20) in a fairly conservative evangelical Baptist church. I think there are yecs and there are YECs. The former (yecs) are those who believe the days of Genesis 1 are literal 24-hours as a default position, because they know of little or no scientific evidence to the contrary. That would describe the vast majority of Christians up to the 18th-19th century. The latter (YECs) are those who believe the days of Genesis 1 are literal 24-hours, *despite* knowing the evidence to the contrary.
Denyse O'Leary, of the Post-Darwinist blog makes this point (see tagline quote).
AN>A few months ago I was considering whether I should/could do a science degree so that I could have some credible input into the creation/evolution debate. I was encouraged by the fact that you have done that. I still don't know when or how I will be able to do this, but your example has encouraged my to keep it before God in prayer and to trust him for whatever his will is.
I would heartily recommend creationists doing "a science degree so that [they] ... could have some credible input into the creation/evolution debate." However, it is a big (and expensive) commitment and you probably would need strong motivation to do it. In my case it was a combination of: 1) wanting to know the truth; 2) feeling the need for credibility to write a book on the problems of evolution; 3) a vague idea about getting a job as a science teacher (which I later decided against); 4) not being able to think of anything better to do! and 5) a feeling that that is what God wanted me to do. I nearly forgot 6) an excuse to buy great books!
PS: Again, thanks for your message, but my long-standing policy is not to get involved in extensive private discussions about creation/evolution/design topics as: 1) I don't have the time; and 2) I believe that such discussions should be public. So if you have any follow-up questions, please make them as comments to my blog posts. Thanks.
"Were the famous scientists of long ago young earth creationists? William Provine; a prominent Darwinist, thinks so. In a recent online review, he complained that a National Academy of Sciences publication on how teach evolution is flawed. He questioned the Academy's decision to cite Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton as examples of thinkers whose views on physics and astronomy were vindicated because, as be put it: `Why would the National Academy have chosen this example in a book about evolution when all four were young-earth creationists? 34 Well, prior to about 1750, everyone was, in one sense, a young earth creationist! For example, the Venerable Bede (672?-735) wrote a history of the world, and so did Sir Walter Raleigh. (1554?-1618}. Both men began with `Creation,' the origin of the universe, as described in Genesis 1 and 2. They assumed that Creation took place about 6000 years ago. But the two men could hardly have been more different! Bede was an English monk in the Dark Ages, and Raleigh was a skeptical English adventurer who lived nearly a thousand years later in the Elizabethan Renaissance. Raleigh was rumored to be an atheist, holding forth in taverns, but his religious views had no impact on where he would begin his account of history. Prior to the development of geology as a scientific discipline in the 18th century, there was no widely accepted source of information about cosmic or human origins apart from the Bible. Raleigh would have to either begin with Genesis, or take the risk of resurrecting an account of origins written by a classical Greek philosopher. But the philosophers' accounts were not science-based; they were simply accounts that were not based on a Christian understanding of the universe. So Copernicus and the others were not young earth creationists in the sense that Provine assumes. They accepted a traditional account of origins as an alternative to no account." (O'Leary D., "By Design or by Chance?: The Growing Controversy on the Origins of Life in the Universe," 2004, p.129)
Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol). "Problems of Evolution"