README

“Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them”   Psalm 111:2

Welcome to  Letters to Creationists.  This represents my attempt to parse reality: what things happen in accord with natural laws, and what is supernatural ? Two major themes are creation/evolution and present-day miracles.

The core content resides on the long essays (e.g. “STAN 3”) which are listed in tabs across the top of the main blog window. The early essays are letters that I had written to folks on the subjects of science, evolution, and the Bible, hence the name of this blog; the subjects covered here have later broadened to include miracles, economics, psychology, and further inspirational topics.  Contents of each letter are summarized below.   In addition to these long letters or essays, I post shorter pieces about once a month. A list of these posts appears on the right-hand side of the main window here.

Parts of my personal story appear in various letters, and is explicitly told (Part 1) here and (Part 2) here.  The word “Creationist” is usually shorthand for “Young Earth Creationist”, someone who believes that God created everything in six 24-hour days about 4000 B.C.  I have come to understand, however, that God’s creative work includes processes which stretched over much longer time periods.  So I would label myself an Old Earth or Evolutionary Creationist.

My working hypothesis is that all events since the Big Bang have unfolded according to the observed regularities known as “natural laws,” unless there is some personal interaction between God and a human. This militates against most forms of special creation, but allows for miracles in situations where faith and covenantal significance are involved. All the facts seem to align with this hypothesis, but it is of course open to correction.

Why another blog on science and the Bible?   The issues involved are consequential: (a) Thousands of young people lose their faith after being taught creationism and then encountering college-level science; (b) The views presented by Christians on science can affect the credibility of the faith, thus impacting evangelism; (c) Millions of dollars are spent on creation-based ministries and media; (d) God should be worshipped both in spirit and in truth, and a correct understanding of creation is part of that; (e) If extraordinary healings are possible, it would be prudent to be aware of this possibility and to consider the potential to increase the likelihood of their occurrence.

In the course of my research I have synthesized some information that I have not seen gathered elsewhere. The information on this blog is offered as a complement to the many other excellent sites dealing with science and the Christian faith. In moving these letters from private correspondence to the public sphere, I changed the name of the recipient, removed personal references, and added text to clarify the discussion.  Some letters are so long that you may wish to paste (as HTML) into Word to print out.

Comments Policy:   There is a quick registration for leaving comments (just asks for a username and e-mail address). Comments are expected to relate to the post topic and to reflect the commenter’s own thoughts or questions (no links to other sites or videos). Abusive tirades will be disallowed.

DESCRIPTION OF  PAGES TABBED ACROSS THE TOP OF THIS BLOG:

STAN 1 – –  Mutations, Fossils, Runaway Tectonic Subduction, and Amazing Advice from St. Augustine on Science/Bible. Written to a man who was challenging me to commit to young earth creationism. This prodded me into considering these creation issues.

STAN 2Speciation, Thermodyanamics, Fossil Sequences, Radiometric Dating of Rocks, Bogus Evidence for Young Earth, Cytochrome-c Pattern,  Biblical Creation Story, What Makes Us Human .  A point-by-point response to a big anti-evolution package handed out by Stan.

PaleoMag – – Paleomagnetism and the Age of the Earth .  Addresses the claim that the observed decay of the earth’s magnetic field indicates a young earth.

STAN 3 – – From Micro-Evolution to Macro-Evolution. Gets deep and detailed. Assumes high school biology knowledge. 3 sections: (1) BENEFICIAL MUTATIONS: DEFINITION AND FREQUENCY ;  (2) PACE OF EVOLUTION – – rates of genetic and physical change; (3) INCREASING GENOME SIZE AND COMPLEXITY – – Role of gene duplication.

STAN 4 – – Assessing Limits to Evolution and to Natural Selection. Reviews  Michael Behe’s “Edge of Evolution” and John Sanford’s “Genetic Entropy”.  Deals with irreducible complexity,  limits to evolution, and mechanism of how natural selection eliminates deleterious mutations. Detailed and technical. Some on Bible interpretation.

Gen_Entropy – – My response to John Sanford’s response to STAN 4.

Grand_Canyon_Creation – – Grand Canyon Geology and Young Earth Psychology. Most popular article here. Describes the Canyon rock layers, why they are millions of years old, and presents a  psychological model to explain how Young Earth creationists can deny this evidence with a clear conscience. Extensive treatment of Bible interpretation regarding creation.

Church Fathers – –   Excerpts from Christian Writings 100-200 A.D. Reveals the beliefs and practices of the Christians shortly after the New Testament era. Inpiring.

Alcohol_Stoves – – Simple, Featherweight Alcohol Stoves for Camping. More than you wanted to know about these cute little stoves for backpacking or emergency cooking.

Junk_DNA_Design – – Junk DNA, the ENCODE Project, and Intelligent Design: Facts, Hype, and Spin. Defines “junk” DNA;  debunks hype around the ENCODE Project results which supposedly found function in 80% of human genome; identifies fundamental error in Intelligent Design movement.

Monetary_System —  Describes the nature of money, and the interactions of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve, and commercial banks. Today’s fiat monetary system differs in several important respects from the gold standard that prevailed before the 1930’s.  The role of trade deficits and currency manipulation on domestic employment and budget deficits is discussed.

Germany_Mission – – Write-up of participation in a 10-day mission trip to Germany, with emphasis on prayer for healing.

Darwins_Doubt – – Reviews some reviews of Stephen Meyer’s Darwin’s Doubt, a book that claims that mainstream science cannot explain the Cambrian explosion. We find that critical reviews of the book correctly show that Darwin’s Doubt makes its case by withholding key physical evidence.

Dinosaur Soft Tissue – – Detailed look at evidence indicating that soft tissue, from the original proteins, has been found inside dinosaur fossil bones. Discusses mechanisms for preservation of this tissue for more than 65 million years, and implications for the age of the earth. A shorter version is here.

BIBLE INTERPRETATION

It seems that Bible interpretation is a bigger driver of disagreements than the scientific data , and is of more interest to the general reader than scientific details.  Here is a perspective (see pages 42-44 of this, and all of this) which resolves the Bible versus science problem, by taking into account two factors:

(1) The Scriptures were given (II Tim 3:15-17), for “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” and to make us “wise for salvation.” This is theology and morals. Nothing here about authoritatively teaching geology or biology. This is a biblical view of the Bible’s intent, which differs from some evangelical statements about inerrancy which mistakenly over-extend the Bible’s sphere of authority.

(2) The authors and early readers of the Bible had a “science” of their day, a shared understanding of the physical world. For instance, the stars were set in a solid firmament, which formed a barrier to the (liquid) “waters above”, and which was “hard as a mirror of cast bronze” (Job 37:18). Modern commentators try to tap-dance around this, but all ancient and medieval interpreters understood the firmament to be a solid dome. The ancient mid-eastern worldview (shared by both Old and New Testament) included a relatively young earth and fixity of species. God could have corrected this ancient science, but chose not to. This was not a mistake or “error.” Rather, God wisely and graciously accommodated His spiritual revelation to the existing physical understanding, in order to facilitate communication of vital spiritual and relational concepts. We need to understand the physical aspect of the ancient worldview, without taking it to be authoritative, in the same way that we do not endorse slavery even though the Bible treats it as normative and do not require veils on women despite Paul’s direct command (I Cor 11:3-16). It’s just part of the task of translation.

The end of Grand_Canyon_Creation covers Bible/science reconciliation in more depth. Also see here re Adam, the Fall, and evolution. My most complete summary is here.

My Background:

Long-time evangelical Christian, interested in everything, including science, miracles, gardening, and macro-economics.  B.A. in Near Eastern Studies, a year at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a year working as a plumber and a lab technician. Then a B.S.E.  and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering. Since then, have conducted research in an industrial laboratory. Published a number of papers on heterogeneous catalysis, and am an inventor on over 80 U.S. patents in diverse technical areas.