mercredi 24 septembre 2014

Answering George Coyne's Comment to Bill Maher

As it has been attributed via wikipedia, reservations for negligence and vandalism undetected by myself:

Coyne was featured in the movie Religulous, by political commentator Bill Maher, commenting that all of the scriptures are written around/between 2000 BC and 200 AD, and modern science has only come into existence in the last couple hundred years, and thus the scriptures in no way contain any science and should not be taught as such. He said:
"How in the world could there be any science in Scripture? There can not be, 'cause the two historical periods (Scripture and Modern Science) are separated by so much. The Scriptures are not teaching science. It's very hard for me to accept not just a literal interpretation of Scripture, but a fundamentalist approach to religious belief. It's kind of a plague. It presents itself as science, and it's not."
English wiki : George Coyne

So, the two historical periods are separated by very many years, and even cultural traits. Ergo, Scripture is another system of cultural product than Science is.

I do not know that any Intelligent Designer or any Young Earth Creationist ever has denied precisely that.

What does the outburst (irrational outburst if meaningless) mean?

"Fundamentalism presents itself as doing science. It is however doing Scripture quoting. But Scripture is another language than Science, so only quoting from Scripture will not constitute science, even facts have to be translated, at least tentatively into Scientific language."

OK, what exact ID or YEC or OEC (Old Earth Creationist) would not answer "no shit Sherlock! How about taking a look at what we are actually doing!"

And I suppose even George Coyne realises that, so I suppose he might have meant something else.

Let us try another interpretation:

"Fundamentalism presents itself as doing science. It is however taking facts from Scripture. But Scripture was not expressing its facts in Scientific language. They have a translation problem."

O ... K ... we have a translation problem?

We maybe had back in the days of Lyell, when the Biblical concept "kind" was deemed to be exact terminological equivalent of the Scientific concept "species". From this Lyell concluded that since Ark of Noah could not have contained all species we find today (lions, tigers, jaguars, nandus, ostriches, emus, horses, donkeys, zebras all different etc.) either the Flood must have been local or there must have been many creations of new species outside creation week. Both of which tenets we fundies reject. By now, I think at least that translation problem has been or is being fixed. Check out baraminology. Lyell was btw active before Charles Darwin.

So, no, that cannot be an appropriate meaning of George Coyne's outburst. Perhaps it was irrational after all.

A third try:

"Fundamentalism presents itself as doing Science. It is however taking its facts from Scripture as if it were somehow concerned with facts. But Scripture is expressing something else than facts. Facts is a concept invented by Science, and no one in the world can be trusted for any fact before Science came around, invented facthood and reeducated every Occidental into comprehending its importance which no one, least of all anyone involved in the 2200 years of Scripture writing, had had the least notion of."

Now the charge starts to be somewhat pertinent. Fundamentalists as we are, we do indeed think we can take facts from Scripture at least if avoiding clumsy errors of translation. Because we do not think the respect for facts started with Francis Bacon of Verulam or with Isaac Newton or any other English nobleman between or around their time.

Least of all do we admit it was unimportant to those writing Scripture - more like 1500 BC (Exodus took place around 1510, and if Genesis contains older material Moses is its redactor, same thing very possible for Job) to 100 AD (by which time I think the Gospel of Saint John had been written and its human author had left earthly cares) - no, on the contrary we think they differred very much from any Babylonian eagerness of adapting the story to the audience, from any Egyptian flattery of Pharaos that left out defeats (except the one recorded in the Ipuwer papyrus), we think they very scrupulously observed facts, both such observed by their own eyes or those of men they trusted and such as were revealed by dictation of God in prophetic moments.

And if to its writers every natural fact had some kind of spiritual component, that does not obscure its sheer facthood, nor its naturalness. Only a very biassed adept of the culture Coyne rightly considered to have come into existence these last hundreds of years could deny that. Or an Atheist, an unbeliever who is unbeliever because he does not think God or Angels exist or if they do that they regularly do anything at all. But such unbelievers are by now usually adepts - and very biassed such - of the Scientific culture.

And by biassed I mean so biassed that they really imagine respect for facthood or sober observation came to exist along with:

  • a) the Scientific Culture
  • b) those whom the Scientific Culture considers as its precursors.

Such an assessment is of course an extreme example of bias. If that is what George Coyne means, he was not making an irrational outburst, but a fanatical one. He has shown himself a fanatic and an enemy of Christianity.

We who do not share this kind of bias and fanaticism are aware that not everywhere facthood is the major point of Scripture, but this does not take away from its being inerrant also in its side issues. And in some points facts very definitely were a major concern to the writer. Like Creation Week or the Miracle of Joshua.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Juvisy sur Orge
Our Lady of Mercy

Also posted on main blog:

New blog on the kid : Answering George Coyne's Comment to Bill Maher

lundi 15 septembre 2014

Did Chesterton Believe in a Local Flood?

I don't really think so, no. He might get something wrong or rather be joking of the pre-Flood diet (Noah was hardly eating elephant soup before the flood), but he gets something really right about the scale of the Flood:

The cataract of the cliff of heaven fell blinding off the brink
As if it would wash the stars away as suds go down a sink,
The seven heavens came roaring down for the throats of hell to drink,
And Noah he cocked his eye and said, "It looks like rain, I think,
The water has drowned the Matterhorn as deep as a Mendip mine,
But I don't care where the water goes if it doesn't get into the wine."

This was middle stanza from a song called Wine and Water. It is from a novel called The Flying Inn. It was published in 1914, one hundred years ago. And a few more months:


As the last stanza speaks of penance, I remind that it is today the day of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Bpi, Georges Pompidou
Our Lady of Seven Sorrows

vendredi 12 septembre 2014

Where I disagree with Oard

My own contributions to Young Earth creationism are mainly three:

  • after seeing a chart over chromosome numbers, and knowing that unlike plants mammals don't make tetraploids (there is one mammals supposed to descend from a tetraploidisation of some strand, perhaps of rodents), and seeing PZM doesn't do geometry too well, I am saying there is no way mammals get increased chromosome numbers over time. In other words, chromosomes and laws of Mendel (which famously Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza felt bad about during his education, him being an evolutionist) means either all placental mammals would have equal numbers of chromosomes, or some strands decreasing since the common ancestor (mice have 22 - 40 chromosomes, I take it the first mouse had 40), or they would have different ancestors (which incidentally is a very minimal approach to the Biblical truth).

    Now, instead mammals have widely different numbers of chromosomes, som very far above 48, while 48 is sufficiently typical to be a possible estimate for first mammalian karyotype, so obviously mammals exist that are not descended from that "first mammal". Nor can it be said there are families with a common ancestor with 48 chromosomes, while others, fewer, have one with 96 (say a tetraploid before mammals developed placental immunity against widely differring chromosome numbers), since karyotypes past 48 also occur in most families. Including Primates.

  • Distant starlight problem is a non-problem if angels are moving stars and planets (under a daily movement of Heaven around Earth effected directly by God) and if α Centauri instead of just seeming to move 0.76 arcseconds back and forth each year (due to earth's supposed movement) is actually doing so. Because, if so, the temporally successive triangle involving earth, star, two positions, involves just that one angle and no known side. And the contemporaneous triangle involving earth, sun, star, involves one side and one known angle, but not that known angle. So α Centauri and other stars could be just a bit outside Pluto, or perhaps twice as far from us as the Kuiper Belt, or perhaps a light day or a light week away. And then there is no such thing as "we are observing light that left the star millions of years ago" stuff.

  • AND when it comes to biochronological measures of time, the most common reason they are worthless as evidence against a young earth is where these labels (such as Palaeozoic, Mesozoic, Cenozoic, or within the Mesozoic such as Triassic, Jurassioc and Cretaceous, or within Cretaceous and Palaeocene - the "latest Meso" and "earliest Ceno" Zoic ones - the two labels "around K/P boundary" namely Maastrichtian and Danian) is that they are evidence of the Flood.

Now, this is where I cite Oard's article, I am not getting into his argument for today, you can look that up yourself, dear reader, but about his background on the question:

I will assume the general order of the geological column for the sake of discussion in this article, since many creationists believe the geological column, minus the old ages, represents the order of biblical earth history. I have come to accept that the geological column represents a general order with lots of exceptions. ... I believe every stratigraphic site needs to be evaluated on its own merits. As a result I have often concluded that the Flood/post-Flood boundary is in the early to mid Pleistocene at various locations. However, in other areas, I have found evidence it could be in the Miocene or Pliocene. We cannot trust the radiometric and biostratigraphic dates of the late Cenozoic as being accurate in a relative sense.

Let me save you some trouble Mr Oard ... Every location you find big enough bone graveyards to be from the Flood only, that bone graveyard is from the Flood. If there are shrimps on top of it, those are from the Flood too (meaning fossilised shrimps in the rocks, not such as you can get out of the water and eat). When you start getting things that are purely humus or even sediment but such as can come from post-Flood erosion, no shrimps in the rocks that is, that is your local post-Flood boundary. But if the bone graveyard is so small, that it could be from a much smaller post-Flood disaster and if there are no three or ten yards of vertical trees to stop you from such a conclusion, in the rocks, that is, then such a bonegraveyard could be post-Flood whatever label the palaentologists put on it, basically. Perhaps excluding Permian, if Moschops and some others were OGMs. Like some Nodian or Nephelim (or both) experiment in transgenics. I mean, many features of creatures in Permian fossils of Karoo have a close relation to one mammal - and then you get a saurian or reptilian feature, like eyes and hips that go sideways instead of front for eyes and down for legs. That could be the result of some very evil engineering. But I suppose Ceratopsians and even more so Stegosaurs have existed post-Flood, and thus would be real kinds, recognised as such by Noah and thus by the Holy Ghost inspiring him. And that means "Cretaceous" is useless as a timelabel to distinguish even as generally as pre- from post-Flood biotope. But Cretaceous and even more so an even smaller label (I don't think Maastrichtian would be the right for Ceratopsians, not sure, but labels in that order of finesse) are very fine as descriptions of local fauna before whatever disaster wiped it away from the day of life - which would usually, but not always, be the Flood.

So instead of seeing Palaeozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic as very general timelabels with many exceptions for what was buried when in the Flood, I rather see Barremian and Maastrichtian and Danian and quite a few more as very precise labels on what kind of biotope was buried. I am generally against considering time as a fourth dimension, but this is a case where I would recommend a turning to the spatial dimensions from the so called dimension of time.

If the creationists on CMI were palaeontologists as much as there are geologists, this would probably be perfectly clear.

As it is, it is confused to them because each of these labels also has another meaning, which applies in vertical relations. If any vertical layer has fossils identifiable according to some such label as Barremian, very obviously the layers above and below will in geology and geological just so stories about how the landscape formed, be given names of labels supposedly earlier than Barremian if below, and supposedly later than Barremian if above.

So far, and excepting Grand Canyon and very little else, this is what we find if we look at palaeontology.

That is why I recommend looking at the Evolutionist produced site while it last, i e up to 2016, at least, and should it, in 2016, shut down, my back up blog for it, the Palaeocritti Blog.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Bpi, Georges Pompidou
The Most Holy Name of Mary

Feast info : Festum sanctissimi Nominis beatae Mariae, quod Innocentius Undecimus, Pontifex Maximus, ob insignem victoriam de Turcis, ipsius Virginis praesidio, Vindobonae in Austria reportatam, celebrari jussit.

Martyrologium Romanum : Septembris mensis

Sites cited for article:

Palaeocritti - a guide to prehistoric animals : By Location‎ > ‎ South Africa

Palaeocritti Blog

And the trigger for this article, a few lines in an otherwise very good, probably (beyond my expertise) article by Oard:

CMI : Surficial continental erosion places the Flood/post-Flood boundary in the late Cenozoic
by Michael J. Oard (today)