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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Frauds in Science...Really!

This item is available on the Apologetics Press web site at: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/1994

AP Content :: Sensible Science

Frauds in Science
by Wayne Jackson, M.A.

With a cultic-like aura surrounding them, these men and women are seen as the paragons of virtue in the intellectual community. They are a priesthood, arrayed in white apparel, tinkering with test tubes and peering through microscopes in a sophisticated “holy of holies.” I am speaking, of course, of the twentieth century scientist. He is not to be questioned as he pontificates upon matters that have baffled the intellects of the ages. His dogmatic theories are sacrosanct, and never are his motives suspect. Though this is quite a common notion in today’s world, it is woefully inaccurate. While it is true that there are many honest people working in the various fields of science, it also is only fair to point out that there have been, and likely will continue to be, some real charlatans in the scientific community. Consider, for example the following.

Exalted views of the objectivity of science and scientists were shattered recently when the New Scientist reported in its November, 1976 issue on the results of a survey it conducted on the subject of “Cheating in Science.” Out of 204 scientists replying to the journal’s questionnaire, 197 reported they were aware of cheating by their colleagues. They judged that 58% of the cheating was intentional, and they reported that only 10% of these intentional cheaters were dismissed; most of them, in fact, were promoted (Koshy, 1977, p. 86).
Two of the more notorious instances of scientific fraud provide an interesting and valuable case study in this regard.

THE EMBRYONIC RECAPITULATION HOAX

Ernst Heinrich Haeckel (1834-1919) was a German biologist and philosopher who asserted that the entire Universe (including the human mind) was the result of solely material processes—a mere machine in motion. He was a devoted follower of Charles Darwin—so much so, in fact, that he was dubbed “the apostle of Darwinism in Germany.”

Haeckel received most of his fame as a consequence of his popularization of the so-called “theory of embryonic recapitulation.” This is the now-defunct notion that successive stages of individual embryonic development repeat the evolutionary stages of one’s animal ancestry. The argument is entirely specious, as even evolutionists have admitted. Famed Harvard evolutionist George Gaylord Simpson wrote, for example: “It is now firmly established that ontogeny [development of the individual—WJ] does not repeat phylogeny [development of the race—WJ]” (1957, p. 352).

In any case, Haeckel had a passion for promoting the recapitulation theory, which he termed “the fundamental biogenetic law.” And, as one writer has noted:


To support his theory, however, Haeckel, whose knowledge of embryology was self-taught, faked some of his evidence. He not only altered his illustrations of embryos but also printed the same plate of an embryo three times, and labeled one a human, the second a dog and the third a rabbit “to show their similarity” (Bowden, 1977, p. 128).
Haeckel was exposed by professor L. Rutimeyer of Basle University. He was charged with fraud by five professors, and ultimately convicted in a university court. During the trial, Haeckel admitted that he had altered his drawings, but sought to defend himself by saying:


I should feel utterly condemned and annihilated by the admission, were it not that hundreds of the best observers and biologists lie under the same charge. The great majority of all morphological, anatomical, histological, and embryological diagrams are not true to nature, but are more or less doctored, schematized and reconstructed (as quoted in Bowden, 1977, p. 128).
Not only did Haeckel misrepresent evidence in his own drawings, but even “went so far as to alter pictures of embryos drawn by others. A professor Arnold Bass charged that Haeckel had made changes in pictures of embryos that he (Bass) had drawn. Haeckel’s reply to these charges was that if he is to be accused of falsifying drawings, many other prominent scientists should be accused of the same thing...” (Davidheiser, 1969, p. 76).

Evolutionist H.H. Newman of the University of Chicago said that Haeckel’s works “did more harm than good to Darwinism” (1932, p. 30). Yet in spite of the fact that Haeckel’s drawings proved to be an embarrassment to the evolutionary establishment, they still are employed in some modern writings as a “proof” of the accuracy of the theory of evolution (e.g., see Asimov, 1981, p. 83).

THE PILTDOWN HOAX

In December of 1912, Charles Dawson, an amateur archaeologist, and Sir Arthur Smith-Woodward of the British Museum of Natural History, announced that they had discovered a man-like skull in a pit near Piltdown, England. Along with the skull was a jawbone that appeared to be very ape-like except for the teeth—which were more flattened, as would be expected in humans. Working with Dawson and Smith-Woodward was Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a Jesuit priest in his late 20s who labored incessantly to harmonize evolution and the biblical record of creation.

Although a few scientists questioned the association of the skull with the jaw, most evolutionists were convinced that Eanthropus dawsoni (or, as he was more commonly known, “Piltdown Man”) was an authentic link in human evolution. It has been estimated that some 500 publications appeared on this subject. It is a curious thing, however, that the bones were kept under tight security—even from evolutionists. Sir Arthur Keith, an eminent British authority in this field, was allowed to view the fossils for only twenty minutes, and was forced henceforth to work with plaster casts of the originals (see Weiner, 1955, p. 121). The famous anthropologist, L.S.B. Leakey also complained that he was denied access to the fossils (Leakey, 1960, p. vi.).

By 1950, a dating method [that employed fluorine] had become available for assigning a relative age to fossil bones. In 1953, after a series of tests, it was determined that the Piltdown skull and jaw were of completely different ages. The skull was a few thousand years old (not one million as formerly alleged), and the jaw bone was that of a modern ape! As a consequence of this startling revelation, a careful study of the bones was begun. Eventually, it was discovered that the teeth had been ground down artificially to appear human—and that it had been a sloppy job at that. Abrasion marks were still evident, the surfaces were flattened at different angles, etc. Moreover, as a result of chemical tests, it was determined that the jaw bone had been stained chemically with potassium bichromate and iron salts for the purpose of making it appear ancient. Actually the “fossil” turned out to be nothing more than a human skull with an ape’s jaw attached. Someone had really been “monkeying” (forgive the pun) with the evidence.

But who was the perpetrator of this elaborate fraud? S.J. Weiner of Oxford University, who was instrumental in the exposure of the hoax, suggested (without making any formal accusation) that the weight of the evidence pointed in the direction of Dawson—although he did allow that perhaps Dawson himself was a victim of this devious scheme. The renowned United Nations scientist, A.E. Wilder-Smith, though again making no formal charge, commented:


It does strike one as remarkable that Professor Smith-Woodward allowed very few other scientists to study the original skull or even to handle it. Plaster casts were always made and the studies carried out with their aid. Plaster casts, however, do not give the very fine details needed for study, nor can one determine with their help whether a find is a fossil or not. Even more important, no one can analyze a skull chemically with only a plaster cast to work with! (1968, p. 133).
More recently, in a scholarly investigation of the available data, Malcolm Bowden concluded that Teilhard de Chardin was likely the culprit (1977). Teilhard certainly had the motive because, as far as he was concerned, all views should bow to evolution which he viewed as “the light illuminating all facts” (1963, p. 44). Moreover, he had the the opportunity, since several of the fake finds were “discovered” by him. Also, he had the technical expertise to pull off such an elaborate ruse. He had taught chemistry (a knowledge of which would be essential in staining the fossils) at Cairo University.

Perhaps as embarrassing as the fraudulent nature of the Piltdown affair, however, was the fact that a number of the world’s leading evolutionary experts were fooled by the hoax for over 40 years. Dogmatic, sweeping statements that had been made with an air of absolute confidence ultimately required public retraction. Such was the concern in England that a motion was made (and tabled) in the House of Commons “that the House has no confidence in the Trustees of the British Museum...because of the tardiness of their discovery that the skull of the Piltdown man is a partial fake” (see Bowden, 1977, p. 8). Duane T. Gish no doubt expressed the sentiments of many when he wrote: “The success of this monumental hoax served to demonstrate that scientists, just like everyone else, are very prone to find what they are looking for whether it is there or not” (1973, p. 92).

There is an important lesson that many Christians need to learn from situations such as these. There is no need to be intimidated by the so-called “discoveries” of an unbelieving world. Not all these discoveries are fraudulent, of course, but they nevertheless are subject to the interpretation placed on them by the discoverer. This, at the very least, should suggest caution in accepting the claims that evolutionists make from time to time.

REFERENCES

Asimov, Isaac (1981), “The Genesis War,” Science Digest, 89[9]:82-87, October. [NOTE: This is a written debate with creationist Duane T. Gish.]

Bowden, Malcolm (1977), Ape-Men: Fact or Fallacy? (Bromley, England: Sovereign Publications).

Davidheiser, Bolton (1969), Evolution And Christian Faith (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed).

de Chardin, Teilhard (1963), Saturday Evening Post, October 12.

Gish, Duane T. (1973), Evolution: The Fossils Say No! (San Diego, CA: Creation-Life Publishers).

Kosh, George (1977), A Challenge to Biology (Minneapolis, MN: Bible-Science Association).

Leakey, L.S.B. (1960), Adam’s Ancestors (New York: Harper & Brothers).

Simpson, George Gaylord (1957), Life: An Introduction to Biology (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co.).

Weiner, S.J. (1955), The Piltdown Forgery (Oxford, England: Oxford University Press).

Wilder-Smith, A.E. (1968), Man’s Origin: Man’s Destiny (Wheaton, IL: Harold Shaw).

Monday, December 10, 2007

Entertaining Angels

Two traveling angels stopped to spend the night
in the home of a wealthy family.


The family was rude and refused to let the angels
stay in the mansion's guest room.


Instead the angels were given a small space in
the cold basement.


As they made their bed on the hard floor, the
older angel saw a hole in the wall and repaired it.


When the younger angel asked why, the older angel
replied,


"Things aren't always what they seem."


The next night the pair came to rest at the house
of a very poor, but very hospitable farmer and his
wife.

After sharing what little food they had the couple
let the angels sleep in their bed where they could
have a good night's rest.


When the sun came up the next morning the angels
found the farmer and his wife in tears


Their only cow, whose milk had been their sole
income, lay dead in the field.


The younger angel was infuriated and asked the
older angel how could you have let this happen?


The first man had everything, yet you helped him,
she accused.


The second family had little but was willing to
share everything, and yet you let their cow die.


"Things aren't always what they seem," the older
angel replied.


"When we stayed in the basement of the mansion, I
noticed there was gold stored in that hole in the
wall.


Since the owner was so obsessed with greed and
unwilling to share his good fortune, I sealed the
wall so he wouldn't find it. "


"Then last night as we slept in the farmers bed,
the angel of death came for his wife", I gave him
the cow instead.


"Things aren't always what they seem."


Sometimes that is exactly what happens when things
don't turn out the way they should. If you have
faith, you just need to trust that every outcome
is always to your advantage. You just might not
know it until some time later..


Yesterday is history.
Tomorrow a mystery.
Today is a gift.
That's why it's called the present!


I think this life is very special...live and savor every
moment... This is not a dress rehearsal!


These are our last days, live them well!!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A MUST READ

The Unity of the Bible

by Kyle Butt, M.A.

Most people who read the Bible in the 21st century rarely stop to think about the 66 different books that compose the sacred Scriptures. Because the 66 books fit together so perfectly, it is easy to consider them to be one organic unit. The major themes and stories from Genesis, the first book of the Bible, flow through the remaining books, and their meanings and implications are developed throughout the entire biblical library. Because of its seamless unity, few take the time to consider that the 66 books of the Bible were written over a vast period of time by a host of writers. The first five books of the Old Testament were composed by Moses in about 1,450 B.C. (see Lyons and Smith, 2003). Revelation, the last book of the New Testament, was written by John, the apostle of Jesus and brother of James, between the years 60-100 A.D. (see Guthrie, 1970, pp. 949-961). Thus, the composition of the entire library of 66 books spanned some 1,600 years.

During those years, the books of the Bible were penned by approximately 40 men of varying backgrounds, cultures, and educational status. The book of Amos was written by a herdsman from Tekoa (1:1). Many of the Psalms were written by David, the shepherd-boy-turned-king. Ezra, “skilled scribe in the Law of Moses,” penned the book that bears his name (7:6). Nehemiah, the butler to King Artaxerxes, wrote the Old Testament book named for him. King Solomon, renowned in the ancient world for his immense wisdom, penned the majority of the Proverbs and the entire books of Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon. The apostle Paul, a man highly educated at the feet of the Jewish teacher Gamaliel, wrote 13 of the 27 New Testament books. Luke, the first-century physician, penned the gospel account that bears his name as well as the book of Acts. Other New Testament writers included John, Peter, and Matthew, who were fishermen with little formal education.

To say that the writers of the Bible were diverse would be an understatement. Yet, though their educational and cultural backgrounds varied extensively, and though many of them were separated by several centuries, the 66 books that compose the Bible fit together perfectly. To achieve such a feat by employing mere human ingenuity and wisdom would be impossible. In fact, it would be impossible from a human standpoint to gather the writings of 40 men from the same culture, with the same educational background, during the same time period, and get any thing close to the unity that is evident in the Bible. The Bible’s unity is a piece of remarkable evidence that proves its divine origin. The remainder of this article will be devoted to showing several different aspects of the Bible’s unity. [NOTE: One of the primary examples of the Bible’s unity revolves around the Messianic prophecies contained in the Old Testament and their fulfillment in the New Testament. The Messianic theme underlies the entire text of the 66 books of the Bible, and has been explored previously in Reason & Revelation (cf. Butt, 2006a).]

UNITY OF NARRATIVE MATERIAL

Many of the Bible writers used historic narrative to record the events that were pertinent to their particular writings. Stories such as Noah’s ark and the Flood, the ten plagues in Egypt, and Daniel being thrown to the lions are recognized even among those with little Bible knowledge. A systematic study of the 66 books of the Bible quickly reveals an amazing unity between these books when they deal with such narratives.

Noah’s Flood

The historic narrative detailing the events of the global Flood of Noah provides an excellent example of the Bible’s unity. In Genesis 6-9, Moses recorded the events surrounding the greatest physical catastrophic event in Earth history. In this story, God chose a man named Noah to build a huge ark designed to carry at least two of every kind of animal, eight humans (Noah, his wife, his three sons, and their wives—Genesis 7:13), and all necessary supplies. When Noah completed the construction of this amazing vessel, Genesis records that God sent a flood to cover the entire globe. The text says: “And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered.... And all flesh died that moved on the earth: birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man” (Genesis 7:19-21). The worldwide Flood destroyed every creature that had the breath of life except those saved in the ark. These events were recorded by Moses in about 1,450 B.C.

As we scan the remaining books of the Bible, we find perfect harmony in regard to the events surrounding Noah, his descendants, and the global Flood. In 1 Chronicles, the text suggests that Noah’s three sons were Shem, Ham, and Japheth, exactly as Genesis 7:13 records (1:1). The prophet Isaiah also referred to Noah (chapter 54). In that text, the prophet recorded the words God spoke to the Israelites of Isaiah’s day: “For this is like the waters of Noah to Me; for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you” (54:9). The oath to which Isaiah referred is found in Genesis 9:11, where God said to Noah: “Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” Remarkably, Isaiah’s comment exhibits a perfect understanding and awareness of God’s statement to Noah, yet the prophet’s writings were separated from Moses’ writing of the Pentateuch by more than 600 years. In addition, the prophet Ezekiel acknowledged the story of Noah when he recorded God’s Word to the Israelites of his day: “‘Or if I send a pestilence into that land and pour out My fury on it in blood, and cut off from it man and beast, even though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘they would deliver neither son nor daughter; they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness’” (14:19-20).

The books of the New Testament exhibit the same unity in regard to the story of Noah as those of the Old. Matthew records the words of Jesus regarding Noah: “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (24:36-39). Notice the points of agreement between Jesus’ statement and the Genesis record. Jesus said that Noah was the man who built the ark. He also said that a great flood destroyed “them all,” referring to everyone outside the ark, exactly as the Genesis account described.
In fact, even though Jesus did not go into great detail, every aspect of His statement agrees perfectly with the information recorded in the Old Testament regarding the Flood. Luke recorded a similar statement by Jesus in Luke 17:26-27, which is the parallel passage to Matthew 24:36-39. He exhibited additional unity with Genesis in that he recorded that Noah’s son was Shem (Luke 3:36).
In Hebrews 11, the Bible writer stated: “By faith, Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith” (11:7) This passage in Hebrews concurs with various other passages that show that Noah built an ark by which his family was saved. Additionally, the apostle Peter twice mentioned Noah and the global Flood. He stated: “...when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water” (1 Peter 3:20). He also said: “[I]f God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly” (2 Peter 2:5).
Notice several things about Peter’s comments regarding Noah. First, he records that Noah was the man who built the ark. Then he gives the exact number of people who were saved in that ark—eight. This number corresponds perfectly with the statement in Genesis 7:13 in which Moses said that Noah, his wife, his three sons, and their wives were saved. Furthermore, Peter states that the Flood destroyed the “ungodly.” His description of the lifestyle of those destroyed in the Flood perfectly matches the Genesis account which states: “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). Thus, from the first book of the Old Testament through 2 Peter, one of the last books written in the New Testament, the Bible exhibits complete and perfect unity in its dealing with Noah and the Flood. [NOTE: It is not the purpose of this discussion to verify the veracity and truth of the global Flood of Noah. That has been done successfully elsewhere (see Thompson, 1999). The sole purpose of this discussion is to show that the various Bible writers agree with each other in their individual assessments and statements regarding Noah and the Flood.]

Sodom and Gomorrah

The names of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are synonymous with wickedness throughout the books of the Bible. Genesis explains that Abraham and Lot had been traveling together after leaving the city of Haran. Due to the multitude of cattle possessed by both men, their respective herdsmen began to quarrel. Not wanting any root of strife to spring up between them, Abraham asked Lot to choose what land he would take, and Abraham suggested that he would separate from Lot by moving to a different area. Lot looked to the plain of Jordan and saw that it was well-watered, so he “pitched his tent even as far as Sodom” (Genesis 13:12). In the text immediately following Lot’s decision, the Bible says: “But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the Lord” (Genesis 13:13).

Sodom and its sister city Gomorrah were so sinful that the Lord decided to destroy the cities by sending fire and brimstone down from heaven to consume them. In Genesis 19, the text explains that Lot showed hospitality to angels sent from God. Lot attempted to protect the angels from being abused by the men of Sodom. In turn, the angels helped Lot escape the city before God destroyed it. The text also records that Lot’s wife disobeyed the commandment of God delivered by the angels when she looked back at the city. As punishment for her disobedience, she was turned into a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26).

Throughout the 66 books of the Bible, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is referenced as an example of God’s hatred of sin and His righteous judgment. The city of Sodom is mentioned over 40 times. The large majority of these instances have to do with the destruction brought on the city due to the wickedness of its inhabitants. The prophet Isaiah, in prophesying about the destruction of Babylon, noted that the wicked city would “be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah” (13:19). In Jeremiah’s prophecy against the nation of Edom, the prophet said: “‘As in the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighbors,’ says the Lord, ‘No one shall remain there, nor shall a son of man dwell in it’” (Jeremiah 49:18). Jeremiah also stated: “The punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom, which was overthrown in a moment, with no hand to help her!” (Lamentations 4:6). Ezekiel mentioned that Sodom was proud and committed abominations in the sight of the Lord, therefore the Lord took the city away as He saw fit (16:50). Amos also referenced the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and associated it with fire and burning (4:11).

New Testament books present the same gruesome picture of wickedness and destruction as their Old Testament predecessors. In his gospel account, Luke recorded the words of Jesus, saying: “Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all” (17:28-29, emp. added). Notice the similarities between the statement made by Jesus and the Old Testament narrative. First, Lot was associated with the city of Sodom. Second, the city was destroyed on “the day” that Lot left, as the Genesis accounts asserts. Third, the destruction was caused by fire and brimstone sent from heaven (cf. Genesis 19:24). Additionally, in Luke 17:31-32, when Jesus admonished His listeners not to look back when they fled Jerusalem, He said: “Remember Lot’s wife.” He was obviously referring to the fact that she was turned to a pillar of salt when she looked back at Sodom.

The apostle Peter noted that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, turning them to ashes, but saved righteous Lot who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the Sodomites (2 Peter 2:6-8; cf. Jude 7). Lot’s righteousness is referenced by Peter and seen in the Genesis account when he confronted the wicked men of Sodom who were bent on abusing the visiting angels. Lot went out to the Sodomites and said: “Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly” (Genesis 19:7). Also, the apostle John makes a passing reference to the wickedness of Sodom in Revelation 11:8. Thus, from the first book of the Old Testament to the last book of the New Testament, we have a completely unified picture of the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah based on their wickedness.

In truth, the narratives of Noah’s Flood and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah are only two of literally hundreds of examples that could be produced to prove the Bible’s unity. Stories about Moses, Abraham, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, Joseph, Daniel, and Jonah provide equally impressive illustrations of the Bible’s perfect cohesion.

MORAL UNITY OF THE BIBLE

The books of the Bible contain various moral themes that are treated consistently throughout the entire 66-book canon. A list of all such themes would exhaust the reader’s patience, and would require a document comparable in length to the Bible itself. A brief sample, however, of these moral issues proves interesting and valuable to the overall discussion of the Bible’s unity.

Lying
Throughout the Bible, the writers consistently present lying in a negative light, describing it as sin. In John 8:44, Jesus is quoted as saying that the devil “does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar, and the father of it.” Jesus’ statement about the devil is corroborated by the book of Genesis, in which the devil deceived Eve into thinking that she would escape death even if she disobeyed God and ate from the forbidden tree (Genesis 3:1-5,13). The apostle Paul also attested to Eve’s deception in 1 Timothy 2:14—“And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.”

From the first chapters of Genesis, in which the devil’s first lie is recorded, to the last book of Revelation, lying is condemned wholesale. Moses scaled Mount Sinai and received the Ten Commandments from God, the ninth of which was, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Deuteronomy 5:20), or in other words, “you shall not lie about your neighbor.” The psalmist wrote: “I hate and abhor lying, but I love your law” (Psalm 119:163). Solomon, the wisest man alive during his time, wrote: “These six things the Lord hates...a lying tongue...a false witness who speaks lies” (Proverbs 6:16-19). The Old Testament prophets wrote similar statements about lying: “Now go, write it before them on a tablet...that this is a rebellious people, lying children, children who will not hear the law of the Lord” (Isaiah 30:8-9).

The New Testament continues the thought of the Old Testament in its denunciation of lying. On one occasion, a rich young man came to Jesus, asking Him what was necessary to inherit eternal life. Jesus responded by telling him to keep the commandments. The young man then asked Jesus which commandments he needed to keep. Jesus said: “Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not bear false witness, do not defraud, honor your father and mother” (Mark 10:19, emp. added). In speaking of lying, it has already been noted that Jesus attributed such activity to the devil, and condemned it as a practice that is totally foreign to the character of God (John 8:44).

Luke, the writer of the book of Acts, recorded the story of Ananias and Sapphira, in which God struck dead a man and his wife for lying (Acts 5:1-11). The apostle Paul, in his letter to the young preacher Titus, noted that God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). Paul also wrote to the Christians in Ephesus: “Therefore, putting away lying, each one speak truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another” (Ephesians 4:25). In Revelation, the last book of the New Testament, John wrote: “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).

Without fail, every Bible writer who comments on the moral value of lying condemns the practice. This fact, at first, may not seem remarkable, since many assume that lying has been condemned by every culture throughout history. But such is not the case. Under certain circumstances, a host of philosophers and teachers of morality have proposed that lying could be morally acceptable under certain circumstances. The atheistic writer Dan Barker is on record as saying: “We all know that it is sometimes necessary to tell a lie in order to protect someone from harm” (1992, p. 345, emp. added). Barker then illustrates with a scenario about a woman who is being hunted by her abusive husband, and he concluded: “I would consider it a moral act to lie to the man.” Yet, it is not only atheistic thinkers like Barker who have suggested that lying could be moral. The esteemed early church writers Origen and John Chrysostom both believed and wrote that under certain conditions, lying could be morally acceptable. And the Greek philosopher Plato took a similar stance (see Slater, 2007).

But the Bible states that lying is always morally wrong, never morally permissible. Throughout the 1,600 years of its production, the books of the Bible consistently maintain the idea that lying is immoral. The practice is never justified by any of the 40 different writers. Although skeptics have alleged that the Bible condones lying under certain circumstances, such allegations have been proven to be baseless and false (see Thompson and Estabrook, 2004). Not a single Bible writer swayed even a fraction in the unanimous condemnation of lying as a moral evil.

Additional examples of the moral unity of the Bible could easily be cited, including the Bible’s condemnation of adultery, the command to honor one’s parents, the prohibition on stealing and a host of others. [NOTE: The skeptic sometimes argues that since the Old Testament Law is no longer in force and the New Testament regulations differ from the Old, then God’s moral code changed as well. However, this allegation is false. By altering the system of animal sacrifices and physical ordinances in the Old Testament, God’s morality did not alter. For example, if the rules of baseball changed so that a person gets four strikes instead of three, that would not mean that the person could cheat by using a weighted bat. Changes in regulations are not equivalent to changes in moral judgments.]

DOCTRINAL UNITY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT

Elder Qualifications
Literally thousands of instances of internal agreement between the New Testament books could be listed. One such example involves the subtle mention of Peter as an elder. In 1 Peter 5:1, the text says: “The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed” (emp. added). Of interest is the fact that, to be an elder, a man must be the “husband of one wife,” as stated by Paul in his letter to Titus (1:6). From reading Luke’s account of Jesus’ life, we discover that on one occasion Jesus visited Simon Peter’s house, at which time He healed Peter’s “wife’s mother” of a high fever (4:38). Thus, we know that Peter was married and would meet the requirement to become an elder by being the husband of one wife. Of further interest is the fact that the apostle Paul, although he provided immense teaching and edification to the church, is never described as holding the office of elder in the church. The context of 1 Corinthians 11 indicates that Paul remained unmarried so that he could focus his attention on his ministry. Thus, Paul would not have been the husband of one wife, and would not have been qualified to be an elder. When these facts are synthesized, then, we can understand that subtle statements in the books of 1 Peter, Titus, Luke, and 1 Corinthians intertwine perfectly to give a consistent picture of the qualifications of an elder as they related to the lives of Peter and Paul.

The Lord’s Supper
The examples and instructions pertaining to the Lord’s Supper provide another clear instance of New Testament unity. Near the end of all four gospel accounts, Jesus and the 12 apostles gathered in an upper room to eat the Passover. During that feast, Jesus instituted what is commonly known today as the Lord’s Supper. Luke’s account of the event states: “And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you’” (22:19-20). The Lord’s Supper, also known as communion (1 Corinthians 10:16), has been eaten in the assemblies of the church since its establishment.

Interestingly, the apostle Paul was not present with the Lord and the other apostles that night. In fact, during that time, his name was still Saul, and he was an unconverted Jewish leader. Yet, several years after his conversion, in his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote:
For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes (1 Corinthians 11:23-26, emp. added).
Notice how similar Paul’s wording is to Jesus’ statements in Luke. Both Luke and Paul acknowledge that this took place the night of Christ’s betrayal. Paul then quotes Jesus verbatim in several lines, in complete accord with the accounts recorded in the Gospel.

Where does Paul claim to have gotten the information regarding the Lord’s Supper? He explained to the Corinthians that he had received it “from the Lord” (1 Corinthians 11:23). But if Paul was not in the upper room the night of the betrayal, how would he have received such information “from the Lord”? In the first chapter of Paul’s epistle to the Galatians, he is forced to defend his apostleship. In that context, he wrote to the Galatians: “But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:11-12). Thus, Paul’s statement that he had received the information concerning the Lord’s Supper from Jesus would be consistent with the direct communication with Christ he claims to have had when writing to the Galatians. [NOTE: I am not, here, trying to defend Paul’s claim of inspiration and direct revelation from Christ. The external evidences for the Bible’s inspiration have been discussed previously in Reason & Revelation (cf. Butt, 2004a; Butt, 2004b; Butt, 2006b; Butt, 2006c). Paul’s statements in this connection are being used solely to show the unity and internal consistency in the New Testament writings.]

In addition to the remarkable consistency and similarity of Paul’s statements in 1 Corinthians 11 concerning the Lord’s Supper and those in the gospel accounts, other information regarding the communion confirms the unity of the New Testament documents. The gospel accounts make it clear that Jesus rose “on the first day of the week” (cf. John 20:1; Luke 24:1; Mark 16:2; Matthew 28:1). In 1 Corinthians 11, in the context of the Lord’s Supper, Paul explains that the Corinthians were “coming together” to take the Lord’s Supper. His statements indicate that the church at Corinth was eating the Lord’s Supper during their worship assembly. Five chapters later, when Paul gave instructions for the monetary collection of the church, he wrote: “On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come” (1 Corinthians 16:2). This verse indicates that the Corinthian church met on the first day of the week, at which time they would have eaten the Lord’s Supper and taken up their monetary contribution.

In Acts 20:7, the text states: “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them....” The phrase “to break bread” is used here to refer to the Lord’s Supper (see Lyons, 2005b). Thus, the Bible provides an example of the church taking the Lord’s Supper on the first day of the week and the Corinthian church meeting on the first day of the week to take up their collection and eat the Lord’s Supper. The first day of the week was the New Testament day of meeting based on the historical fact that Jesus rose on that day. Such internal consistency between Luke, Acts, and 1 Corinthians testifies to the New Testament’s inspiration.

Baptism
Throughout the New Testament, various Bible writers address the theme of baptism with remarkable consistency. Such consistency is even more impressive in light of the varied and contradictory opinions held by many today in the religious world about the subject.

After Jesus’ resurrection, just before His ascension, He called His disciples together and issued to them what is often called the Great Commission. He said: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:18-20). From His instructions, it is clear that baptism plays a key role in the conversion of the lost. In fact, in Mark’s account of the Gospel, he quotes Jesus as saying: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16). Mark’s account of Jesus’ statement clarifies the role of baptism, showing that it is an essential step in the salvation process.

The book of Acts records the history of the disciples fulfilling the Great Commission given to them by Christ. In Acts 2, we have the first recorded gospel sermon preached by Peter to the Jews in Jerusalem. In his powerful sermon, Peter explained to the Jews that they had crucified Jesus, the Messiah and Son of God. Many of the hearers believed Peter and asked what they needed to do. Peter responded by saying: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). Notice that Peter connected baptism with the remission of sins, completely consistent with Jesus’ statement in Mark requiring baptism for salvation. Throughout the book of Acts, water baptism is presented as a necessary step in the conversion of the lost to Christ (Acts 8:37-38; 9:18; 10:48; 16:15,31-33; 19:5). In fact, when the apostle Paul recounted his conversion, he quoted Ananias’ statement to him as follows: “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Here, again, baptism is connected with the washing away or forgiveness of sins.
In the epistles, baptism is consistently presented in a way that conforms perfectly to the gospel accounts and Acts. In his letter to the Romans, Paul stated:
Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection (Romans 6:3-5).

In these verses, Paul states that a person is baptized into Christ (cf. Galatians 3:27). In 2 Timothy 2:10, Paul says that salvation is in Christ. Thus, to obtain the salvation that is in Christ one must be baptized into Christ. Also note that Paul says that a person is baptized into the death of Christ (cf. Colossians 2:12). In Ephesians 1:7, Paul stated that the blood of Christ is the spiritual force that forgives a person’s sins. That blood was shed at His death. Thus, when a person is baptized into Christ’s death, he or she contacts the blood of Christ, linking baptism with the forgiveness of sins exactly as is presented in Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, and as is implied in Mark 16:15-16. The apostle Peter also spoke on baptism in a way that coincides flawlessly with Paul, Luke, Matthew, and Mark. Peter said: “There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21). Notice that Peter connects baptism to salvation as the other writers, dependent upon the resurrection of Christ, exactly as Paul did. The New Testament’s presentation of baptism provides an outstanding illustration of the unity of the New Testament books. [NOTE: Skeptics often have accused the Bible of being contradictory on certain points regarding the doctrine of baptism. For a refutation of such an idea see Lyons, 2005a, pp. 193-198.]

OBJECTIONS

The Writers Copied Each Other
The skeptic may attempt to suggest that much of the agreement and unity found in the Bible is unremarkable because the writers could have copied the information from books that were written prior to their own writings. Let us critically consider such an objection. First, the mere objection assumes the perfect unity of the 66 books of the Bible. Why would a skeptic be forced to suggest that the various writers copied each other if their unity and agreement could be disputed? The fact that the skeptic must resort to this charge is evidence of the reality of the Bible’s unity.
Second, this allegation assumes that the various Old Testament prophets and New Testament writers had access to perfectly preserved texts of the various books they were “copying.” Interestingly, skeptics often deny the accurate and complete transmission of the text. If a skeptic demands that the unity is a result of copying, he will be forced to admit the astonishing preservation of the text of the Bible. And, while the Christian gladly acknowledges that such preservation did occur, and that some material would naturally be based on previous texts, it is not the case that the various writers would have had ready access to all the texts before they wrote.

Furthermore, non-canonical writers who had many of the same texts preserved for them wrote material that contradicted the canonical Scriptures. How is it that not a single book in the 66-book canon contains a single legitimate contradiction? Even if every writer had a copy of every other book in front of him before he wrote, such unity would be impossible from a human standpoint. In truth, individuals often contradict their own writings due to a slip of the mind or a change in their previous thinking. Yet no such slips, changes, or other aberrant occurrences can be found in the 66-book library of the Bible.

The Bible Contains Contradictions

Skeptics often suggest that the unity of the Bible is only superficial. They say that even though it might look like it is unified in its themes, on closer inspection it contains hundreds of discrepancies and contradictions. Dennis McKinsey, the author of The Skeptics Annotated Bible, stated:
Every analyst of the Bible should realize that the Book is a veritable miasma of contradictions, inconsistencies, inaccuracies, poor science, bad math, inaccurate geography, immoralities, degenerate heroes, false prophecies, boring repetitions, childish superstitions, silly miracles, and dry-as-dust discourse. But contradictions remain the most obvious, the most potent, the most easily proven, and the most common problem to plague the Book (1995, p. 71, emp. added).

Yet, McKinsey and others have no legitimate basis to support the accusation that the Bible contradicts itself. Christian apologist Eric Lyons has done extensive work on the subject of alleged Bible contradictions, in which he has successfully refuted the idea that the various books of the Bible contradict each other. He has written two volumes of The Anvil Rings that provide over 500 pages of material refuting specific accusations made by the skeptic (2003; 2005a).
In fact, for the last 2,000 years, a long line of competent Christian apologists have thoroughly and effectively refuted the charges of alleged biblical discrepancies (e.g., Gaussen, 1850; Haley, 1876; et al.). Even a cursory look at such research forces the honest student to conclude that if the Bible does, in fact, contain a genuine contradiction of some kind, it has not yet been found. When all the facts are considered, each alleged biblical contradiction has been shown to be something other than a legitimate contradiction. That is a powerful statement, considering the fact that no book in the world has been examined more closely or scrutinized more carefully. After the Bible has been put under the high-powered microscope of hostile criticism, and dissected by the razor-sharp scalpel of supposed contradictions, it rises from the surgery with no scratches or scars, none the worse for wear.

CONCLUSION

No series of books in human history has maintained the supernatural internal consistency that is present within the pages of the Bible. From the first book of Genesis to the last book of Revelation, approximately 40 men penned individual treatises that combine to form the best-selling, most widely distributed, perfectly unified, flawlessly written book ever produced. Mere human genius could never have accomplished such an extraordinary feat. As the psalmist aptly spoke of God’s Word 3,000 years ago: “The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever” (Psalm 119:160).

REFERENCES
Barker, Dan (1992), Losing Faith In Faith—From Preacher to Atheist (Madison, WI: Freedom from Religion Foundation).
Butt, Kyle (2004a), “Archaeology and the Old Testament,” Reason & Revelation, 24[3]:17-23.
Butt, Kyle (2004b), “Archaeology and the New Testament,” Reason & Revelation, 24[10]:89-95.
Butt, Kyle (2006a), “The Predicted Messiah,” Reason & Revelation, 26[1]:1-7.
Butt, Kyle (2006b), “Scientific Foreknowledge and Medical Acumen of the Bible,” Reason & Revelation, 26[12]:89-95.
Butt, Kyle (2006c), “Tyre in Prophecy,” Reason & Revelation, 24[10]:73-79.
Gaussen, L. (1850), Theopneustia: The Plenary Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures (London: Johnstone & Hunter).
Guthrie, Donald (1970), New Testament Introduction (Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press), third edition.
Haley, John (1876), An Examination of the Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1977 reprint).
Lyons, Eric (2003), The Anvil Rings: Volume 1 (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Lyons, Eric (2005a), The Anvil Rings: Volume 2 (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Lyons, Eric (2005b), “‘Breaking Bread’ on the ‘First Day’ of the Week” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/343.
Lyons, Eric and Zach Smith (2003), “Mosaic Authorship of the Pentateuch,” Reason & Revelation, 23[1]:1-7.
McKinsey, C. Dennis (1995), The Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy (Amherst, NY: Prometheus).
Slater, T. (2007), “Lying,” [On-line], URL: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09469a.htm.
Thompson, Bert (1999), The Global Flood of Noah (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Thompson, Bert and Sam Estabrook (2004), “Does the Story of Rahab Mean that God Condones Lying?” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/535.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Evolution is Religion---Not Science

AP Content :: Reason & Revelation

Evolution is Religion—Not Science [Part II]
by Michael G. Houts, Ph.D.


[EDITOR’S NOTE: Part I of this two-part article appeared in the November issue of R&R. As noted preceding that article, A.P. auxiliary staff scientist Dr. Houts holds a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and serves as the Nuclear Research Manager for NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. (The opinions expressed are his own and not necessarily those of NASA.)]

In Part I of this article, numerous examples were given to demonstrate the religious nature of the theory of evolution. In many subject areas the evidence against the theory is overwhelming. When the evidence is understood properly, only the most ardent zealot continues to cling to the theory and the religions it supports. Fundamental tenets of evolution that run contrary to nearly all available evidence include the belief that life arose spontaneously from non-living chemicals, and the belief in random mutations leading to the overwhelming amount of information present in the genome.

In other subject areas, however, the available evidence is a small subset of that required. Objective, quantitative discussion in these areas can be difficult. One such area is the age of the Universe. The current level of data and observations concerning the Universe is perhaps analogous to the level of data and observations concerning life a few centuries ago.

Many Christians view the age of the Universe as an unimportant issue. They correctly note that the odds against evolution are so overwhelming that they would not appreciably change whether the Universe was 10 years old or 10 trillion years old. However, in the early 21st century, “age” is perhaps the subject area where the inerrancy of the Bible is attacked most vigorously. Christians must be willing and able to defend the Bible in all subject areas, including those dealing with the age of the Universe.

While there is some variation in estimates, one secularly accepted age for the Universe is 13.7 billion years. In contrast, a straightforward reading of the Bible indicates that the age of the Universe is measured in thousands of years, not billions of years. Even though some professed believers continue attempts to force billions of years into the Bible record (e.g., Ross, 1995), such attempts do far more harm than good. If the Bible can be interpreted to allow a Creation that is billions of years old, it can be interpreted to say anything a person wants it to say. Attempts to force billions of years into the Bible record also result in numerous irresolvable theological issues. Issues associated with the more publicized compromise positions have been thoroughly addressed in the literature (e.g., Thompson, 2000; Sarfati, 2004; Ham, 2002; Mortenson, 2005).

Also, although limited evidence is currently available, much of the relevant evidence can be measured quite accurately. Isotope ratios in rocks can be determined to within a fraction of a percent, as can the brightness of Cepheid variables, reds shifts, decay constants, and numerous other parameters. The difference between the age of the Universe indicated in the Bible and the age of the Universe accepted by secular scientists is not due to differences in evidence or errors in gathering evidence, but different assumptions applied to interpreting that evidence. As noted in Part I of this article, assumptions can be influenced strongly by one’s religious beliefs.

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF ASSUMPTIONS
Two examples from history clarify the point. First, one of the most influential early disciples of Charles Darwin was a German scientist named Ernst Haeckel. Haeckel was highly respected, and became known as “Darwin’s Bulldog on the Continent” and “the Huxley of Germany.” His writings continue to have a significant impact, and many modern biology texts still draw on his research to promote the theory of evolution (Kaskel, et al., 1999, p. 620). Haeckel’s book The History of Creation is a good sample of his teachings. As implied by its title, the book attempts to provide an alternative to the book of Genesis, using evolutionary, atheistic assumptions.

Haeckel realized that, for spontaneous generation to be even remotely possible, life forms unimaginably simpler than those known (then or now) must somehow be viable. Because of his faith in evolution, Haeckel devised such organisms, named them “Monera,” and wrote about them at length. In the book, Haeckel speaks of “Monera” as if their existence were fact. Haeckel’s book includes detailed drawings of “Monera,” with supporting text such as:

During late years we have become acquainted with Monera, organisms which are, in fact, not composed of any organs at all, but consist entirely of shapeless, simple, homogenous matter. The entire body of one of these Monera, during life, is nothing more than a shapeless, mobile, little lump of mucus or slime, consisting of an albuminous combination of carbon. Simpler or more imperfect organisms we cannot possibly conceive (1876, 1:184).

Details of the experimental techniques used to determine (incorrectly) the presence of “Monera” are not given in his book. However, at some point Haeckel must have let his faith-based assumption that Monera exist drive him to the incorrect conclusion that he actually had observed them. Haeckel noted:

The first complete observations on the natural history of a Moneron (Protogenes primordialis) were made by me at Nice, in 1864. Other very remarkable Monera I examined later (1866) in Lanzarote, one of the Canary Islands, and in 1867 in the Straits of Gibraltar. The complete history of one of these Monera, the orange-red Protomyxa aurantiaca, is represented in Plate I, and its explanation is given in the Appendix. I have found some curious Monera also in the North Sea, off the Norwegian coast, near Bergen (1:184).

Some of Haeckel’s scientific contemporaries apparently were convinced by his arguments, because they, too, began “discovering” Monera. For example, Haeckel noted that:

Perhaps the most remarkable of all Monera was discovered by Huxley, the celebrated English zoologist, and called Bathybius Haeckelii. “Bathybius” means, living in the deep. This wonderful organism lives in immense depths of the ocean, which are over 12,000—indeed, in some parts 24,000 ft. below the surface, and which have become known to us within the last ten years, through the laborious investigations made by the English (1:184).

Evidence that observed “Monera” were lifeless, inorganic compounds was available as early as 1875 (Grigg, 1996). In that year it was determined that alleged “Monera” were nothing more than amorphous gypsum, precipitated out of sea-water by alcohol. However, even with clear refutation from true, operational science, “Monera” continued to be presented as fact for over 50 years by atheists seeking to support Darwinian religions.

Two of Haeckel’s greatest allies in writing The History of Creation were the poor scientific understanding and primitive scientific equipment of the 19th century. However, it is important to note that to scientists of that time, crude scientific equipment and limited understanding must have seemed incredibly advanced. The same is true today. While the technology and scientific understanding of the early 21st century is greater than any previously recorded, it very likely will be considered “primitive” within a few decades.

Another interesting historical example is Percival Lowell’s early 20th century “proof” that intelligent life exists on Mars. The “proof” was so widely accepted that at the end of 1907 the Wall Street Journal reported that the most extraordinary event of the past 12 months was the “proof afforded by astronomical observations...that conscious, intelligent human life exists upon the planet Mars” (as quoted by Sheehan and Misch, 2007, p. 20). Lowell’s “proof” came as the result of tremendous financial resources, tremendous dedication, and tremendous creative thinking. His research included shipping a seven-ton telescope and a team of astronomers to Chile’s Atacama Desert to obtain the best possible observations of Mars during its close approach of 1907.

Lowell had previously reported observing canals on Mars, and believed that the canals carried meltwater from Mars’ polar regions to its parched deserts. The year prior to the expedition he had written the book Mars and Its Canals. Lowell’s hope was that the expedition would provide strong evidence in support of his theory, and indeed it did! One of the astronomers (David Peck Todd) described his first view of the planet as follows: “amazed at the wealth of detailed markings that the great reddish disk exhibited. Its clear-cut lines and areas were positively startling in their certainty.... Nearly everybody who went to the eyepiece saw canals” (as quoted by Sheehan and Misch, 2007, p. 22). The expedition was so successful that in 1908 Lowell went on to publish his book Mars as the Abode of Life. Lowell was not alone in his views. For example, Ham and Batten note that: “In 1900 the French Academy offered a prize of 100,000 francs for the first person to make contact with an alien civilization—so long as the alien was not from Mars, because the academy was convinced that Martian civilization was an established fact!” (2002, p. 8).

As with Haeckel, Lowell has long since been proven wrong. However, these historical examples allow for an interesting thought exercise. What would it have been like to be a Christian a century ago, trying to defend the Bible even when it disagreed with accepted “scientific” wisdom? Most Americans at that time did not have a high school education and had not traveled more than a few miles from their place of birth. How could a Christian defend the Bible against some of the greatest scientific minds the world had to offer?

In the 18th century, a faithful Christian armed only with his Bible could have predicted the existence of dinosaurs, and perhaps some did. However, they likely would have been ridiculed, not only by secular “experts,” but also by some fellow Christians. At that time, many Christians had already decided to interpret passages found in Job 40 and elsewhere as referring to creatures currently living, although the descriptions obviously did not fit. However, in the mind of a compromiser, the last thing one should do is acknowledge the Bible contradicts the human wisdom of the day. Of course, with the discovery of dinosaurs in 1822, the faithful Christian would have been vindicated in the minds of compromising believers and non-believers alike.

A century ago many false doctrines were introduced, such as Progressive Creation or the idea that “God used evolution.” These doctrines did not develop due to a study of the Bible, but in response to the overwhelming “scientific” evidence that well-meaning false teachers attempted to accommodate. It is ironic that many of these false doctrines still flourish today, even though the human wisdom that they originally attempted to reconcile has long since been proven wrong. Thus, the first thing Christians should not do is twist or edit the Bible in an attempt to accommodate the so-called “scientific” facts of their day.

A second thing Christians should not do is ignore the problem. It is easy for mature Christians to forget what it is like to be a non-Christian. Individuals who grew up in the church may have an even harder time understanding individuals whose only exposure to Christianity has been through the popular media. Christians may be lulled into feeling that because most of the people with whom they associate believe the Bible, the same is true throughout society. The fact is that only a small fraction of the world’s population acknowledges the Bible as God’s inerrant Word. Individuals who believe science has proven the Bible false are very unlikely to give serious consideration to the Gospel. First Peter 3:14-15 provides guidance on what Christians should do: “And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (NASB).

BACKGROUND
Ironically, to the atheist or evolutionist, the age of the Universe should not matter. The fact that the Universe had a beginning at all is yet another fatal blow to their religion. While one often hears the argument “anything can happen given billions of years,” that argument quickly dissolves when the odds of the required events are quantified. The astronomical odds against evolution are not noticeably affected by the age of the Universe, be it a microsecond or billions of years.

For example, the difference between a microsecond and the oldest age currently claimed for the Universe is less than a factor of 1024, i.e., a factor of one followed by 24 zeroes. The total number of particles in the Universe (down to the subatomic level) typically is estimated at 10100. While these are incredibly large numbers, they pale in comparison to the odds atheists associate with their own beliefs. The famous atheistic astronomer Sir Frederick Hoyle calculated the odds of even just the proteins of an amoeba arising by chance at one in 1040,000, i.e., one in one followed by 40,000 zeroes (Hoyle and Wickramasinghe, 1981, p. 130). Harold Morowitz calculated the odds that a simple, single-celled organism might randomly assemble itself from pre-existing building blocks as one in 10100,000,000,000, i.e., one in one followed by 100 billion zeroes (Morowitz, 1968, p. 98). Carl Sagan and other famous evolutionists have come to similar conclusions (Sagan, et al., 1973, pp. 45-46). Calculations such as these were the basis of Sir Frederick Hoyle’s famous statement that the probability of spontaneous generation “is about the same as the probability that a tornado sweeping through a junk yard could assemble a 747 from the contents therein” (Hoyle, 1981, 294[5837]:105). Given these impossible odds, the complete illogic of placing one’s faith in evolution remains unchallenged for any “age” currently considered.

The fact that an eternal Universe was necessary to diminish (or eliminate) the need for God was recognized long ago, perhaps soon after the beginning of time (or whenever humans had rebelled enough against God to begin devising false religions). In ancient Greece, Aristotle promoted the view that both God and the Universe are eternal (1952a, 8:344-345; 1952b, 8:377). Although opposed by early Christian and Hebrew scholars (based on the Genesis account), the belief in an eternal Universe became accepted as “fact.” Over time, many proponents of Christianity (e.g., Thomas Aquinas) compromised clear Bible teaching and attempted to prove God’s existence starting with the false assumption of an eternal Universe. Ironically, Strobel observed that Aquinas apparently did so because he felt that if he assumed the Universe had a beginning, the task of proving God’s existence would be too easy (2004, pp. 107-108). While intentions may be good, it is never useful or right to compromise God’s Word.

Throughout the 19th century, the “fact” of an eternal Universe was used to support various false religions, including evolution. In the “Great Debate” of June 30, 1860, Anglican Archbishop Samuel Wilberforce debated evolutionist Thomas Huxley. Basing his arguments on belief in an eternal Universe, Huxley argued that given infinite time, infinite ink, and infinite paper, six monkeys would eventually type all of the books in the British Library, including the Bible and the works of Shakespeare (Missler and Eastman, 1996). The desired analogy was that given infinite time, life would eventually develop and evolve into man.

Evolutionists and atheists have long been aware of the danger a non-eternal Universe posed to their religion. David Hume (18th-century Scottish skeptic and naturalist) noted: “I never asserted so absurd a proposition that anything might arise without a cause” (Greig, 1932, 1:187). Much to their chagrin, however, research in the 20th century yielded tremendous evidence that the Universe did, indeed, have a beginning. In 1915, Albert Einstein developed his general theory of relativity which showed a static Universe was impossible unless an arbitrary, precise fudge factor (a “cosmological constant”) was added to his equations (Goldsmith, 1995, p. 7). Starting in the 1920s, observations by Edwin Hubble (whose name was given to the Hubble space telescope) and others continued building the case for a non-eternal Universe (Sharov and Novikov, 1993, p. 69). It is now almost universally accepted in the scientific community that the Universe had a beginning.

The search for a means to claim an eternal Universe became frantic. In 1948, Sir Frederick Hoyle helped develop the “Steady State” theory of the Universe (Hoyle, 1955, p. 320). Although the theory violated the Laws of Thermodynamics and had no observational basis, it was promoted to soften the theological implications of a non-eternal Universe. In the 1960s, Carl Sagan proposed the Oscillating Model (Sagan, 1979; Sagan, 1980; Gribbin, 1976) which, again, violates known laws of physics, but is occasionally mentioned even today. In the 1970s, the idea of a quantum fluctuation somehow creating the Universe was popularized (Guth, 1997). However, this theory requires a quantum vacuum, which itself is a “sea of fluctuating energy, an arena of violent activity that has a rich physical structure and can be described by physical laws” (Craig, 2000). The fact that this theory has been widely publicized (e.g., Lemley, 2002, 23[4]:32-39) shows how desperate the search for atheistic origins has become. The calculated odds against even a single atom forming via a quantum fluctuation are huge, and claiming the entire Universe formed that way goes beyond stretching the imagination. Even more important, the theory still requires the presence of the quantum vacuum, which in itself would have needed to be created. Recently, work by Stephen Hawking has been highly publicized, but to his credit, he admits that his theories still require the Universe to appear out of nothing. Through the use of imaginary numbers, Hawking has developed a mathematical construct that would allow the Universe not to begin at a singularity using current cosmological assumptions. This recent work does not appear to have much bearing on the current discussion (Hawking and Penrose, 1996). [NOTE: An excellent summary of these and other attempts to cling to an eternal Universe is given in Thompson, 2001. For a thorough refutation of the more popular versions of the Big Bang Theory, see Thompson, et al., 2003, 23(5):32-34,36-47.]

THE AGE OF THE UNIVERSE
A century ago it was easy to promote evolution. Darwin’s theory had been popularized, and vast energy was being poured into interpreting evidence within the Darwinian framework. Our knowledge of biology and living systems was so poor that advocates of evolution could go as far as fabricating evidence in support of the theory with complete impunity (Grigg, 1996, 18[2]:33-36). Ignorance in the field of biology allowed Darwin’s theory of evolution to be blindly promoted well into the 20th century.

In a similar fashion, our ignorance of the Universe today allows virtually any hypothetical assumption related to its origin or age to be accepted, as long as it is atheistic and can be construed to support current, popular beliefs. Theories related to the origin and age of the Universe typically are devised to account for a subset of the observed data, and when other data contradicts the theory, fudge factors are introduced. For example, observational evidence indicates that the visible matter in galaxies is not enough to hold them together given other evolutionary assumptions. Theorists have thus postulated the existence of “dark matter,” matter other than that present in the form of stars, gas, and dust. “Dark matter” is intended to help hold galaxies together, and perhaps to serve other functions as well. In a similar vein, it has recently been observed that the expansion of the Universe appears to be accelerating rather than staying constant or slowing down. To accommodate this observation, theorists have introduced the concept of “dark energy.”

To make the currently favored secular models work, the vast majority of the Universe would need to consist of “dark matter” and “dark energy.” NASA Administrator Michael Griffin recently asked the value of “discovering that literally 95% of the Universe consists of dark energy or dark matter, terms for things that we as yet know nothing about? But they make up 95% of our Universe” (Griffin, 2007). He went on to write that someday we may learn to harness these “new things.” Griffin is absolutely correct in noting that harnessing “new things” is one of the greatest benefits of operational science. However, it is also important to note that if “95% of the Universe consists of...things that we as yet know nothing about,” it would be foolish to make dogmatic assumptions based on what little we know of the remaining 5%.

For example, in the past five years it has become increasingly accepted in secular science that so-called “fundamental constants” may have changed. Observations of quasars have indicated changes in both the “fine structure constant” (strength of electromagnetic interaction) and “mu” (ratio of proton mass to electron mass). Results have been reported in “Physical Review Letters” and elsewhere (Weiss, 2006, 169[17]:259). One of the researchers, Victor V. Flambaum of the University of New South Wales, observed: “It doesn’t matter that the variation is small. If ‘mu’ varies, we need new theoretical physics and cosmology” (as quoted in Schirber, 2006). Astronomer Michael Murphy of the University of Cambridge noted: “There is absolutely no reason these constants should be constant. These are famous numbers in physics, but we have no real reason for why they are what they are” (as quoted in Schirber, 2006). Changes in fundamental constants could have huge implications, including changes in the speed of light and changes in radioactive decay rates. These effects could greatly change secular estimates of the age of the Universe.

Such observations are consistent with recent research by the “RATE” group which yielded compelling evidence for changes in radioactive decay constants, and other evidence for a relatively young Earth (DeYoung, 2005). One of the findings of the RATE group was excess helium retention in zircons. This finding indicates that based on measured helium diffusion rates, the observed radioactive decay in zircons must have occurred within the past several thousand years. If it had taken longer, the helium generated via alpha decay would have diffused out of the zircons. The group’s observation is that significant radioactive decay has occurred, and it has occurred recently (DeYoung, p. 176).

Another finding of the RATE group was the presence of Carbon-14 in diamonds as well as coal. Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 years, meaning 1/2 of the atoms decay (in this case beta-decay to Nitrogen-14) every 5,730 years. The detectable presence of Carbon-14 in any sample indicates that its age is less (possibly much less) than ~100,000 years (p. 175). Carbon-14 in coal and diamonds strongly contradicts evolutionary theory, which claims both coal and diamonds formed millions of years ago. The “problem” (from an evolutionist’s standpoint) of Carbon-14 in coal also has been reported by Lowe (1989, 31:117-120), Giem (2001, 51:6-30), and others. When reasonable effects of Creation and the Flood are taken into account (which atheists and compromisers typically fail to do), Carbon-14 dating correlates well with what we know about the past few thousand years. [NOTE: An excellent summary of this issue is given in Batten, 2002.]

A third finding of the RATE group is that ages estimated using parent isotopes that undergo beta decay tend to be significantly different (younger) than ages estimated using parent isotopes that undergo alpha decay. This could suggest that whatever mechanism God used to change decay rates during Creation week and around the time of the Flood had a different effect on alpha emitters than it did on beta emitters (DeYoung, 2005, p. 121). The RATE group has also performed research related to radiohalos, fission tracks in zircons, and potential mechanisms for alleviating issues (such as high heating rates) introduced by accelerated radioactive decay (pp. 174-183). Among other implications, the observations of the RATE group indicate that assumptions used in radiometric dating may be false, and that ages estimated through use of radiometric dating may be incorrect by several orders of magnitude.

In addition to recent research performed by both Christian and secular scientists alike, other lines of evidence have been known for years that are consistent with a relatively recent creation (Humphreys, 2000). These include the rate at which galaxies “wind up” (too fast for long ages), the amount of mud on the seafloor (too little), the amount of sodium in the sea (too little), the rate at which the Earth’s magnetic field is decaying (too fast), the number of stone age skeletons (too few), the development of agriculture (too recent), and numerous others. Biblically based theories also exist for interpreting what we observe in the Universe, given a relatively recent creation (e.g., Humphreys, 1994; Thompson, 2004). Other biblically consistent interpretations have also been proposed (Williams and Hartnett, 2005, p. 180).

The age of the Earth is discussed in numerous other subject areas. For example, on the subject of the ice age, uniformitarian assumptions have been used to postulate a series of some 30 ice ages occurring throughout the past 2.5 million years. However, Oard notes several fundamental problems with that scenario. First, no adequate uniformitarian cause has been identified for an ice age. The currently favored Milankovitch radiation cycle appears far too weak, and attempts to correlate that cycle with ice cores or other evidence are reminiscent of Huxley discovering Monera (in support of Haeckel) and Todd observing Martian canals (in support of Lowell). According to Oard:

There are also major subsidiary mysteries associated with their model, such as the origin of pluvial lakes in currently semi-arid regions, origin of persistent non-glaciated areas poleward of the edge of glaciation, the mix of warm- and cold-climate plants and animals during the ice age, the lack of glaciation in the lowlands of Siberia and Alaska, and the mass extinction of large mammals and birds at the end of the ice age (2005, p. 35).

Most biblically based ice age models assume the ice age resulted from warm oceans and a dusty atmosphere following the Genesis Flood. The total duration of the ice age would have been approximately 700 years. When coupled with modern climate and weather analysis tools, these models resolve not only the issues listed above, but remain consistent with measured evidence such as oxygen isotope fluctuations and layering in the remaining ice sheets. Oard also notes that biblically based models are more consistent with observed Beryllium-10 peaks and with radio-echo data showing little horizontal movement within the Antarctic ice sheet (pp. 135-137).

Fossils represent another subject area where “age” is often discussed. Although “index fossils” and other circular methods are often used to date fossils, the actual age of a fossil ultimately must be estimated based on some independent dating method. Most of these “independent” dates have been determined through radiometric dating of surrounding rock layers, which is again entirely dependent on the assumptions that are applied. If the assumptions are wrong, the estimated age will be wrong.

Other observations can be used to determine the approximate age of fossils. For example, last month in Reason & Revelation, Eric Lyons noted that soft dinosaur tissue is strong evidence against dinosaur fossils being more than a few thousand years old. The Genesis Flood also provides a near-perfect mechanism for depositing the fossil record we observe (Thompson, 2004, pp. 209-230; Woodmorappe, 1999; Butt and Lyons, 2005, pp. 67-91). The flood model is more consistent than secular models with findings such as polystrate fossils, fossil graveyards, tightly bent strata, injected sandstone, high concentrations of pollen in coal deposits, and others.

The Bible clearly indicates a relatively young age for the Creation, which contradicts currently accepted theories. Instead of compromising, Christians (especially technically-minded Christians) should stand firm and use information in the Bible to God’s glory. Tremendous discoveries have been made in the past and will continue to be made by scientists who use the Bible as the foundation for their research. The important point is that Christians need to put their confidence in the Bible, not in ever-changing human wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:20).

True science supports Christianity. Sir Francis Bacon (credited with establishing the scientific method) was a Bible believer. Werner Von Braun (who led the development of the Saturn V moon rocket) was a Bible believer. Sir Isaac Newton, Carl Linnaeus, Louis Pasteur, and James Maxwell were professed Bible believers. So were Faraday, Kelvin, Boyle, Dalton, Ramsay, Ray, Mendel, Virchow, Agassiz, Steno, Woodward, Brewster, Buckland, Cuvier, Copernicus, Kepler, Herschel, Maunder, Pascal, Leibnitz, Euler, and countless others (Lamont, 1995). Christians should not be suspicious of true, operational science just because certain false religions have twisted the term “science” in order to claim it supports their worldview.

CONCLUSION
Webster’s defines “religion” as “a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith” (Webster’s Ninth..., 1988, p. 995). Christianity falls into this category. So do the hundreds of false religions that have plagued mankind for millennia. Matthew 7:13-14 indicates that the majority of people will be deceived. Despite the overwhelming evidence God has given us, they will choose to create their own religion, or adhere to a false religion.

Darwin and Haeckel correctly assumed that if evolution were powerful enough to turn single-celled organisms into human beings, it certainly would be powerful enough to have strong effects within a given species. Darwin wrote extensively on differences of race and sex, and Haeckel wrote extensively about race. Some quotes from their more famous books show where their faith in evolution led them. In his book The Voyage of the Beagle, Darwin wrote about his experiences with the Fuegians at Tierra Del Fuego:

Viewing such men, one can hardly make one’s self believe that they are fellow creatures, and inhabitants of the same world. It is a common subject of conjecture what pleasure in life some of the lower animals can enjoy: how much more reasonably the same question may be asked with respect to these barbarians! (Darwin, 1845, p. 218).

Darwin also discussed the Fuegians in his book The Descent of Man:

They possessed hardly any arts, and like wild animals lived on what they could catch.... He who has seen a savage in his native land will not feel much shame, if forced to acknowledge that the blood of some more humble creature flows in his veins (1874, p. 613).

In addition to numerous other statements concerning various “races” and “savages,” Darwin made the following observations in The Descent of Man:

The chief distinction in the intellectual powers of the two sexes is shown by man’s attaining to a higher eminence, in whatever he takes up, than can woman—whether requiring deep thought, reason, or imagination, or merely the use of the senses and hands (p. 558).

[T]he average of mental power in man must be above that of woman (p. 559).

Thus man has ultimately become superior to woman (p. 560).

Darwin’s book also contains considerable discussion on whether different “races” of man should be classified as completely different species, or merely different subspecies.

Ernst Haeckel expressed similar views. For example, in the second volume of his book The History of Creation, Haeckel wrote:

The final result of this comparison is this—that between the most highly developed animal souls, and the lowest developed human souls, there exists only a small quantitative, but no qualitative difference, and that this difference is much less than the difference between the lowest and the highest human souls, or the difference between the highest and lowest animal souls.

In order to be convinced of this important result, it is above all things necessary to study and compare the mental life of wild savages and of children. At the lowest stage of human mental development are the Australians, some tribes of the Polynesians, and the Bushmen, Hottentots, and some of the negro tribes.... All attempts to introduce civilization among these, and many of the other tribes of the lowest human species, have hitherto been of no avail; it is impossible to implant human culture where the requisite soil, namely, the perfecting of the brain, is wanting.... They have barely risen above the lowest stage of transition from man-like apes to ape-like men, a stage which the progenitors of the higher human species had already passed through thousands of years ago (1876, 2:362).

The views of Darwin, Haeckel, and other leading “scientists” were soon incorporated into the American educational system, and presented as scientific fact. Hunter’s A Civic Biology (the book allegedly used by John Scopes in the events leading up to the 1925 Scopes trial), noted:

At the present time there exist upon the earth five races or varieties of man, each very different from the others in instincts, social customs, and, to an extent, in structure. These are the Ethiopian or negro type, originating in Africa; the Malay or brown race, from the islands of the Pacific; the American Indian; the Mongolian or yellow race, including the natives of China, Japan, and the Eskimos; and finally, the highest type of all, the Caucasians, represented by the civilized white inhabitants of Europe and America” (Hunter, 1914, p. 196).

In The Descent of Man, Darwin also touched briefly on the concept of eugenics (Darwin, 1874, p. 612). However, by the time A Civic Biology was written, eugenics had gained widespread “scientific” acceptance. In discussing the subject, Hunter notes:

If the stock of domesticated animals can be improved, it is not unfair to ask if the health and vigor of the future generations of men and women on the earth might not be improved by applying to them the laws of selection (p. 261).

After a brief discussion of families in which “mental and moral defects were present in one or both of the original parents,” Hunter goes on to say:

Just as certain animals or plants become parasitic on other plants or animals, these families have become parasitic on society.... They are true parasites. If such people were lower animals, we would probably kill them off to prevent them from spreading.... Eugenics show us, on the other hand, in a study of the families in which are brilliant men and women, the fact that the descendants have received the good inheritance from their ancestors (p. 263, italics in orig.).

The philosophies of racism, sexism, and eugenics, promoted under the guise of “science” by Darwin, Haeckel, and others, are wrong. We know they are wrong because the Bible opposes them. Unfortunately, such philosophies are completely consistent with evolution-based religions, and were not immediately defeated by individuals willing to stand firm on the Bible. Instead, it took society decades to recognize the evils associated with racism, sexism, and eugenics, and for those philosophies to be largely rejected, even given their so-called “scientific” support.

The effect that Darwin’s and Haeckel’s teachings had on Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and others has been documented (Wieland, 1998; Grigg, 1996). However, there is little (if any) evidence that Darwin or Haeckel understood that the religion they helped create would be used to justify the atrocities that were committed. Likewise, there is no evidence that when George Hunter wrote in his textbook, “If such people were lower animals, we would probably kill them off,” he could have anticipated that such statements could be coupled with Darwin’s and Haeckel’s teachings to provide “scientific” justification for Nazism and the extermination of Jews and other individuals the Nazis considered less than human.

The beliefs and “research” of Darwin, Haeckel, and others are still doing damage. For example, Dr. James Watson (winner of the 1962 Nobel Prize for his role in discovering the double-helix structure of DNA) recently asserted that there was no reason to believe different races separated by geography should have evolved identically. He then went on to make several racist statements implying that black people are not as intelligent as white people. His comments were reported by CNN and other major news sources, resulting in a significant uproar (Van Marsh, 2007).

Thus, Christians need to “care” in the 21st century for the same reasons they needed to care 150 years ago when Darwin’s theories were first being popularized. Psalm 111:10 states: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Allowing society’s “wisdom” to be based on false religions and their erroneous assumptions can have unintended and disastrous consequences. Any false teaching can have negative long-term effects, the most serious of which are eternal.

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