Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Old Earth Young Earth Debate MP3 Audio

Dr. Hugh Ross and Dr. Walter Kaiser (representing old Earth creationists) debate Mr. Ken Ham and Dr. Jason Lisle (representing young Earth creationists) and present their views about whether the creation days were 24-hours long or long periods of time, what is the age of the universe and the earth, the relationship of the Bible and science, and more.

Full MP3 Audio here.

Podcasted free from the John Ankerberg Show.

Enjoy.

24 comments :

Marcus McElhaney said...

Thank you, Brian. This is extremely timely

BubbaCoop said...

Answers in Genesis also has a nice DVD set of all 10 hours of the debate, including optional commentary by Dr. Terry Mortenson.

Lee said...

There is a debate?

HA HA... this should be fun.

Old Earth person:- "There is all this empirical evidence to say the universe is 13.7 billion years old and the Earth is 4.6 billion years old - many independent lines of evidence all converging on the same answer. A very old Earth and universe"

YEC "But the bible says this, so you are wrong"

Old Earth person "No Comment"

I know where my cards fall

Lee

Leslie said...

Most of this debate seemed to center around yom. Unfortunately, I think both sides have it wrong in some way. YECs are correct - it seems clear that the author did intend for yom to refer to a 24 hour day in the text. However, they are incorrect in that this automatically means that YEC is correct.

I'm not trying to argue that the text in Genesis 1 is poetry. It isn't. But it's not straight prose either, and that's what both parties seem to miss here. I'm personally agnostic as to how creation went about, though I lean towards the idea that the universe is old. But I think most important to this particular discussion is the idea that the writer here was not trying to write some sort of scientific or straight historical account of how creation went down. That doesn't mean he's writing myth, it just means he's not giving us the information in ways that we in the 21st century prefer.

Lee said...

Sorry - I wasted 3 hours of my life on this discussion.

So I had to have a rant on it...

Since it was a long rant, I have created a post of my blog instead of wasting space here.

Anyone can read it here if you are bored.

Thanks

Lee

Lee said...

Hi Leslie

But I think most important to this particular discussion is the idea that the writer here was not trying to write some sort of scientific or straight historical account of how creation went down.So what do you think was being written and why?

The account clearly doesn't match the observations in the universe.

This seems to be you can (like Ken Ham does) ignore reality or try and explain why the bible writers wrote how they did.

If you are happy with an old universe, then you are not with Ken - so, what do you think Gen1 and Gen2 are trying to say?

More importantly - why do you think the message (whatever it is) should be trusted?

Lee

Mark Lefers said...

I don’t know whether to cry or to laugh. Here are too pseudosciences debating on who is right. Unfortunately a significant proportion of Christians believe this stuff, thereby causing others to doubt their other beliefs (salvation, God, etc.).

Brian said...

Mark,
Just because two parties don't agree on how or when something took place does not mean it didn't happen. They just don't know how or when.

If two people have a dispute over how and when a crime took place, that should not cause the jury to doubt that the crime took place.

Differing views on the things we are uncertain about do not endanger the things we are certain about.

Respectfully,
Brian

Leslie said...

Lee,

The account clearly doesn't match the observations in the universe.I'll just quote Arno Penzias here, co-discoverer of microwave background radiation, and Nobel Prize recipient in Physics, said concerning this: "The best data we have (concerning the big bang) are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the Bible as a whole."

What do you think Gen1 and Gen2 are trying to say?Gen. 2 isn't so much in focus here, but I think particularly in Gen. 1 the point is simply to show that God created everything, and that nothing in creation should be worshiped. Remember that people at the time worshiped creation - the sun, moon, animals, etc. The Genesis writer to me is laying out the notion that all of this was brought about by God's hand and his alone.

Also, I'll pass along some comments by a Hebrew scholar/professor I know from my schooling. I asked him about Genesis 1 and this was part of his response:

"The point of Genesis 1 seems to be Moses' establishment of the model of the 6 day work week in God's own activity. The language of the chapter clearly refers to seven literal days. It must be remembered, however, that this is using a later category to describe an earlier reality. Thus, the point is not necessarily to be temporally precise but establish a pattern of behavior in God's action that lays a foundation for the Sabbath law."

As for why I trust the accounts - it's for a lot of reasons that I'm sure we would disagree on. You just happen to be wrong. :-D

Finally I'll link to what I think is an interesting lecture on this topic as well, from a much different viewpoint than either of the two groups presented here:

Ernest Lucas - God and Origins: Interpreting the Early Chapters of Genesis-Les

Mark Lefers said...

Brian,
I’m not saying that YEC and OEC are wrong because they disagree. They are wrong because they are not based on reality (naturalistic evidence).

You comment, “Differing views on the things we are uncertain about do not endanger the things we are certain about.” Just so we’re on the same page, are you saying, “Differing views on the things we are uncertain about [scientific theories] do not endanger the things we are certain about [Christianity claims].” If so, this is fine and good for those who already believe. But for those who don’t believe the blending of pseudoscience with religion makes for confusion. Scientific theories can at least point to something tangible; whereas a belief in the supernatural has to be taken by faith (which is rather subjective).

The more and more I’m researching my lost faith, the more I realize why apologetists hold onto creationism and ID. It some how holds the hope of something tangible, something that can be investigated and something that they can see and experience. The fear of losing that can make them ignore the evidence and hold onto something that is just not true. Having lost my faith, I can see the desire to live in that alternate reality without the danger of losing what one holds dear.

Brian said...

Mark,

I know we are both busy men... you probably more than me! I don't intend on starting a marathon here, so I hope to be brief here and in any follow ups. : )

They are wrong because they are not based on reality (naturalistic evidence).The earth is either young(er) or old(er). So one of these is more close to the truth than the other, just by logical necessity. How can they both be wrong? And who says they are not looking at naturalistic evidence?

With the young earth position, they would put more weight on the Bible for their reasoning process. But they would not throw out facts (naturalistic evidence.) The facts don't come with their own interpretation - that interpretation is applied to them by the viewer. So they are just starting with a different interpretive grid.

As for the old earth, they would tend to look first at the naturalistic evidence and then try to reconcile that with the Bible. They too are not denying the naturalistic evidence - they are interpreting it... just like you or I do; through their own suppositions. If you don't believe in someone's reasons for believing the earth is young or old, then throw that out as bath water.

Just so we’re on the same page, are you saying, “Differing views on the things we are uncertain about [scientific theories] do not endanger the things we are certain about [Christianity claims].”I am saying that there is plenty of evidence for the existence of God, Jesus, the Bible to be in a good position of confidence. How does the age of the earth make any difference to one's confidence in the existence of God, Jesus, the Bible? Whether the earth is young or if the earth is old, God still exists, Jesus was still a historical figure, the Bible is still reliable. The age of the earth holds no sway over the evidence for those things. So that is what I mean when I say that differing views about what we are certain about (or at least have evidence and good reason to believe) is not affected by what we are not certain about (or at least don't have enough evidence or reason to make a confident judgment).

If so, this is fine and good for those who already believe. But for those who don’t believe the blending of pseudoscience with religion makes for confusion.But wasn't your original complaint that Unfortunately a significant proportion of Christians believe this stuff, thereby causing others to doubt their other beliefs (salvation, God, etc.). ?

I would go back to my point and say that if you were talking about ONLY one view, then I could agree that those who don't agree with that ONE view could be turned off... but when we are talking about the earth EITHER being old OR young... then, everyone, regardless of whether they are a Christian or not, is going to have a view that lands somewhere on the scale.

Mark, in your research, what ID books have you read?

Lee said...

Hi Leslie,

Firstly, I assume you are not trying to make the logical fallacy of the ‘argument from authority’ (i.e. “Person A believes this, therefore it is true”) since I trust you are aware that that would be logical nonsense.

I will then assume that you intend for me to look not at the fact Arno Penzias has a Noble prize (which isn’t important in this matter), but at the argument he is making.

The only important point really.

Arno is seemingly saying that the accounts of creation in the Old Testament are somehow proven (or at least supported) by the discovery of the Cosmic background radiation.

I find this claim rather interesting – I certainly don’t see it myself.
(Not with my limited knowledge of cosmology and astrophysics at least)

So, if the claim is one you support yourself, could you please expand on why I should believe this also?

It could make for an interesting discussion.

I suppose the discussion could go down a few different paths – so let’s up front see which path you want it to lead. (If you wish to continue)

Firstly, it seems you would not be agreeing with Ken Ham and Co that reality has been faulty since the Fall (and as such any and all observations of the universe should not be trusted over the words in the Bible.)

If you were denying reality like Ken, I don’t think we can really have a discussion on science and the observations it has made about the universe.

So since you are quoting a Noble prize winning physicist I think we agree that our observations can be trusted. (I suppose you are open to the interpretation, but that could lead into another discussion – lets just focus on the claim you are making first)

So what actually is the claim - is it that the “step by step” accounts in Genesis (and supporting texts in the Old Testament) are confirmed by science to be correct through the observations of the universe? If not in the length of time between epochs (assuming you don’t go for the literal 24 hours like Ken Ham) at least the order is correct and the description in the Old Testament does not disagree with known physics.

Or maybe the claim is a vaguer one. That the Cosmic background radiation, which along with other observations in the universe such as the red shift of distance galaxies, supports the idea of a “Big Bang” in the past – now thought to have occurred 13.7 billion years ago. This support of the Big Bang thus confirms “In the Beginning” statement in Genesis1.

Or maybe there is another claim – please just expand on it so I may understand it.

Many thanks and take care.

Lee

Lee said...

Hi Brian,

If two people have a dispute over how and when a crime took place, that should not cause the jury to doubt that the crime took place.But if both of these people are claiming that the crime that took place was committed by aliens - just one says they were green and from mars, the other say grey and from another galaxy.

This does not mean they are not both barking up the wrong tree and missing the obvious.

Maybe we should trust the 3rd witness in the case who says the crime was committed by Mr Plum with a candlestick in the library.

Just a thought

Lee

Brian said...

No, Lee.
Mr. Plum wasn't there. He was at the theatre.

Lee said...

Darn... you have beaten me again.

I'm rubbish at this game.

Take care.

Have to go

Lee

Mark Lefers said...

Brian and Lee,
Thanks for the laugh. I love that game.

Brian,
OEC holds to the evidence of the age of the universe, but many of the other claims (evolution, some geology, origin of man, etc.) don’t follow the scientific evidence. They kind of pick and choose.

You said, “But they would not throw out facts (naturalistic evidence.) The facts don't come with their own interpretation - that interpretation is applied to them by the viewer.” No they do through out facts. They through out cosomology facts, geology facts, paleontology facts, botany facts, evolution facts, etc. They are not just interpreting it differently, they have to ignore the facts, because there is no way of fitting these facts into their “theory”. It just an impossible task. For instance ask a YEC about the fossil record and just see how many facts they have to change.

Brian, I don’t think there is plenty of evidence for the existence of God. I believe there is sufficient evidence that Jesus existed and that some believed he was resurrected, but not that he was resurrected. I also believe that the Bible can be shown to be reliable in some parts, and not reliable in others. It all depends on what one is using it for.

You asked, “How does the age of the earth make any difference to one's confidence in the existence of God, Jesus, the Bible?” And my response is I don’t know, but the fact that you put creationism material on an apologetics website, that millions were spent to make a creation museum in Kentucky, that the religious right is fighting to get creationism taught in science classes, that the majority of evangelicals don’t believe in evolution, makes me think there is some connection. If a group of people are so willing to believe and indorse something that is clearly wrong, it makes me question their beliefs on other things. It not that there is not we don’t have “enough evidence or reason to make a confident judgment”, we do, and it is the ignoring these facts that is the problem.

I’m going off a faulty memory, but the ID books I’ve read are Darwin's Black Box, one of Phillip Johnson’s book, Lee’s Case for a Creator, some YEC material (can’t remember), and some internet material by Dembski. I’ve also read a few that tried to bridge the controversy, and I’ve read books from a Christian perspective against creationism and ID. Brian, have you read any evolution books?

Leslie said...

Lee,

Firstly, I assume you are not trying to make the logical fallacy of the ‘argument from authority’ (i.e. “Person A believes this, therefore it is true”) since I trust you are aware that that would be logical nonsense.I wasn't really trying to make an argument at all with the Penzias quote. You had made an assertion that "The account clearly doesn't match the observations in the universe." I was simply trying to show that this is not as clear as you suggest, by pointing out the fact that a Nobel Prize winning physicist who discovered something pretty significant doesn't agree. I didn't mean it as an argument for him being right about his conclusions, just that if someone of his knowledge and experience can think that the Biblical accounts can match up with such a significant discovery, perhaps one should not be so quick to say what is or isn't "clear."

I personally don't think the Gen. 1 account has to match up directly with science. For anyone to feel like it must do so, they must first assume the purpose behind the text was to make a scientific claim about how the world began. As I pointed out in my earlier post, I don't think that is necessarily the case.

I'll give an example. Imagine overhearing this conversation:

Little Girl: "Mommy, why does it rain?"

Mother: "God makes it rain so that plants can get the water they need."

Now imagine that you are a Christian over hearing this. Do you run up to the mother shouting "LIAR!"? Hopefully not! :D What was the purpose behind her answer? Was she trying to say that every time it rains God is personally stepping in, so that all rain is a supernatural event? It's possible, but I doubt you would think that was the purpose behind her statement. She was trying to convey information about God, not information about nature. And what's more, given God's existence, she would actually be correct about what she told her daughter, despite giving no scientific information.

Again, we must first consider the purpose behind the writings before deciding whether or not they even need to fit science. If they were not intended to convey scientific information, then trying to make science fit the writings (or vice versa) would just be silly.

Lee said...

Hi Leslie,

“I was simply trying to show that this is not as clear as you suggest, by pointing out the fact that a Nobel Prize winning physicist who discovered something pretty significant doesn't agree.”Then you were making the argument from authority. Sorry, it’s meaningless.

Just because a single scientist believes something does not make it right in of itself.

I personally don't think the Gen. 1 account has to match up directly with science. Fine, I never said it did.

For anyone to feel like it must do so, they must first assume the purpose behind the text was to make a scientific claim about how the world began. As I pointed out in my earlier post, I don't think that is necessarily the case.Ken Ham disagrees, but that isn’t important to me.

Mother: "God makes it rain so that plants can get the water they need."This statement is wrong on so many levels.

Firstly, you could change ‘God’ for ‘Invisible blue unicorn’ and it still convey the same message.

Second, it is putting purpose into an observation where it isn’t clear there is one.

“It rains so that plants get the water they need”?

Oh dear...

Now imagine that you are a Christian over hearing this. Do you run up to the mother shouting "LIAR!"? Hopefully not! :DActually, I have told the wife off for saying to my three year old something similar.

Not that she mention God (she is a humanist) but she explained an observation incorrectly.

I just said why tell our son something we know is wrong?

It means I will have to explain later why mummy was wrong and then explain the better explanation.

(It involved her explanation of night and day if you are interested. She explained it with the Sun going around the Earth, and not that the Earth is spinning.
In case you were interested.)

What was the purpose behind her answer? Was she trying to say that every time it rains God is personally stepping in, so that all rain is a supernatural event? It's possible, but I doubt you would think that was the purpose behind her statement. Erm... she is reinforcing both gods and purpose where there is none :-)

She was trying to convey information about God, not information about nature. And what's more, given God's existence, she would actually be correct about what she told her daughter, despite giving no scientific information.The mother knows nothing about God or Her purpose – yet the child will believe their mother 100%.

Again, we must first consider the purpose behind the writings before deciding whether or not they even need to fit science. If they were not intended to convey scientific information, then trying to make science fit the writings (or vice versa) would just be silly. I can agree the texts do not need to match science, yet you quoted someone who claimed that they did.

Why?

Take care

Lee

Leslie said...

Lee,

Then you were making the argument from authority.You are misunderstanding why I put forth the quote. I would be making an argument from authority if I were saying "Authority X said Y, therefore Y is true." I was not trying to say he was correct about his claim though. You stated that it is clear that the Biblical account does not match observation, which is something altogether different than simply saying that the Biblical account does not match observation. Saying it is "clear" that this is the case suggests that basically anyone should be able to tell this. Once again, the only reason I offered the quote was to show that it is not as clear as you suggest. The presentation of people who disagree is not an argument FOR those people's position (or an argument at all, really); rather, it is a presentation of evidence that works against your claim.

As for the thought experiment, obviously I wouldn't expect you to agree with the mother. Nevertheless, whether or not the mother is correct had nothing to do with the point I was making. I was simply saying people can explain things in different ways without necessarily being wrong, so long as you realize where the person is coming from when they make their statement.

But if we agree that the Genesis 1 account does not necessarily need to match up with science, then I suppose we're on the same page.

-Les

Lee said...

Hi Les,

Saying it is "clear" that this is the case suggests that basically anyone should be able to tell this.Fair enough – I understand your point now.

So I will change it - it is clear to anyone who has taken a physics with astrophysics degree :-)

Of course it wasn’t clear to the bible writers the order of ‘creation’ – I would not think they would want to deliberately want to get the order wrong, they just didn’t have the knowledge back then, in fact is only in the last 100 years or so that it started to become ‘clear’.

The presentation of people who disagree is not an argument FOR those people's position (or an argument at all, really); rather, it is a presentation of evidence that works against your claim. My claim was/is merely that the order of creation given in the Genesis is clearly wrong when compared to the facts/observations discovered in science.

Of course, this means you require knowledge of this science – but when you do, you can really clearly see the difference.

Presenting Arno Penzias quotes doesn’t seem to add anything against my argument.

Was Arno a cosmologist or astrophysicist? From what I remember of the Bell observatory experiment is that they were trying to find a new and funky way to use microwave radiation for communication. They just kept getting a fuzzy interference that they could not explain. However it was precisely what astronomers where looking – and these astronomers had to explain this to Arno and Co.

So, am I surprised Arno thinks it matches the description in the bible – not if he was raised a Christian. It was precisely what HE was looking for. “In the beginning” was all he required. Shame the rest of the account fails in a heap.

As for the thought experiment, obviously I wouldn't expect you to agree with the mother. <
Sorry, I did jump on that a little hard. Oops...

No, I would not, could not agree. But you knew this.

But if we agree that the Genesis 1 account does not necessarily need to match up with science, then I suppose we're on the same page.I can accept that. Ken Ham cannot, but this isn’t my problem.

My question would be though, if the creation account does not need to match up with science, then why would the Adam and Eve account need to match up?

If the Adam and Eve account doesn’t need to match up, where did the idea of original sin come from?

If original sin doesn’t have to match up with science, then what did Jesus have to die for?

As Ken Ham realises, once you start to interpret Genesis to match science – you start to have theological problems.

Well, I think you do.

Could be wrong, but it is one of the reasons I am not a Christian.

Lee

Jon said...

Very interesting debate Brian.

Two things jumped out at me. Number 1, Kaiser is really awful. He usually doesn't answer the question posed to him. He rambles and states uncontroversial things.

And yet the other thing that jumps out at me is Ankerberg's bias. He almost never let's Ken Hamm finish his thought, yet he defers to Kaiser and lets him go on and on though he's saying nothing.

And yet through all of that Hamm and Lisle remain cordial. I was very impressed with them.

Hugh Ross was good as he usually is. He answers the questions posed to him and he knows his stuff. All told though I thought that the AIG team ruled the day here in spite of Ankerberg's unfair treatment.

Though Hugh Ross of course looks good when the issue is the science, but Hamm and Lisle were smart to steer back towards the Bible, where they are on pretty solid footing as far as I'm concerned.

Anonymous said...

Pretty silly to quote a "Nobel Prize Winner" when Al Gore and Barack Obama were both such. This adds no credence whatsoever to anyone.

Anonymous said...

Hamm and Lisle won this debate hands down. Ross accepts what he sees. All well and good. However, he doesn't really offer a clue as to how what he sees got there.

Eddie said...

One thing that Hugh didn't really answer is the question of animals getting cancer before the fall.
Those of us who has had a pet such as a dog may at some time have had to get the animal put down.
Through our own actions we know that a suffering animal is not good and sometimes we have to humanely put them to sleep.
Yet OEC believe from the fossil record that there was suffering in the animal kingdom for millions of years... that is as well as eating each other they got cancerous tumours. How can God call this very good when by our own actions we say that it's not good?
So asking the question to OEC's is animals getting cancerous tumours before the fall very good as God says?
I think the YEC position is truly compatible with scripture and the character of God we know and serve...

Blog Archive

Amz