Does Swamidass’ new “genealogical adams and eves” hypothesis unknowingly serve to “make God a monster”?

As 2020 both cools down in temperature and heats up in rhetoric, here is a response to S. Joshua Swamidass’ recent book that deserves more air time given how a few evangelical Protestant theologians and apologists are expressing surprised praise at it, calling it a ‘game changer’ because of ‘genealogy’ vs. ‘genetics’. I would consider it a ‘game changer’ only in a borrowed or catch-up sense of that term, given Swamidass’ YECist+ audience. Any thoughts here on this critical review of the book by a fellow evangelical active at BioLogos?

From what I’ve read so far, I do not see that Swamidass “makes God a monster” in the book. That rather appears to be what comes from Johnson’s hermeneutics, rather than Swamidass’ intentions or expressions. BioLogos was similarly confused, and hadn’t read Kemp, much like Swamidass (that is, until he finally did). Swamidass has previously written about dungeons & suffering, which perhaps by some people may be mistaken as ‘monstrous’. It would be more appropriate and charitable to say, ‘he knows not what he does’ by opening this rift. Thus, he speaks about “what it means to be human?” as a distant (methodological) naturalist, with an important background personal concern involving local fellow YECists and activistic sociology behind the book’s publication (e.g. choice of publishing house).

I agree with Johnson’s general critique of the book, though with few of his specific ones, given there are other answers that he too apparently hasn’t considered. Swamidass in my interpretation openly & repeatedly distorts the science, philosophy, theology/worldview conversation with his ideology. He intentionally or unintentionally leaves so much important work out, in particular, the work of Catholics and Orthodox, by and large. Nevertheless, he does his work inviting ‘correction’ of facts, data, and empirical natural-physical scientific findings, and speaks as an ex-YEC activist in such a nice, warm and cuddly non-mainline covenant, optimistic way, which makes me thankful for this book & his website. My sincere hope is that the book won’t confuse too many people, and may instead somehow help especially evangelical YECists finally take a step or several steps forward, in order to catch up with where most other Christians have been standing in a more balanced science, philosophy, theology/worldview position already rather calmly for years, wondering why the narrow literalistic evangelicalist efforts on this topic have so badly missed the mark in peoples’ hearts and minds.

“The logic of Genealogical Adam and Eve is entirely circular and makes God a monster.” – Jay Johnson

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345 thoughts on “Does Swamidass’ new “genealogical adams and eves” hypothesis unknowingly serve to “make God a monster”?

  1. Adapa: Dembski’s EF produces false positives because it has no way to deal with processes which combine law and chance. That’s why it failed miserably with evolution.

    I am not sure whether what I am saying is equivalent to what Adapa says. But I’d say that when there is a region of genotypes which is the specified region, and when the processes of change of the objects has a process that pushes them steadily towards that region, into it and into higher and higher degrees of specification, then observing that the object has attained CSI does not permit one to conclude in favor of Design (or of not-unDesign),

    That is the case with the EF’s application to adaptations in biology: the relevant scale is fitness (or a component of fitness), and the relevant process is natural selection. If the process were simply a random draw from the initial distribution (such as a tornado in a junkyard) then the EF has some merit. But not when the organisms have to survive and reproduce, and the scale on which specification id measured is fitness. For a computed example see my first post here at TSZ, in 2012

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  2. EricMH: Yes, good point. I mostly comment here because I like the ego boost of ardent skeptics being unable to refute my ideas, especially in the case of Tom English.

    It’s that same titanic ego which refuses to let you admit your ID-Creation idiocy has been beaten into a fine pink mist. But go ahead and submit your evolution-disproving ideas to any mainstream science publication instead of hiding at the DI’s vanity journal. If you finally grow a pair that is.

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  3. Joe Felsenstein: That is the case with the EF’s application to adaptations in biology: the relevant scale is fitness (or a component of fitness), and the relevant process is natural selection. If the process were simply a random draw from the initial distribution (such as a tornado in a junkyard) then the EF has some merit. But not when the organisms have to survive and reproduce, and the scale on which specification id measured is fitness

    Yes. Dembski’s EF can’t handle cases where processes use feedback (i.e. natural selection in evolution) to continually improve the produce. It’s the difference between playing straight poker (keep the 5 cards you are dealt) with draw poker (discard and redraw to improve your hand). If you were told a player in a poker room had ten royal straight flushes in a row Dembski’s filter would scream DESIGN! (or cheating). But if the rules were for each hand a player was allowed to discard and redraw as many times at desired the probability of getting a RSF approaches certainty.

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  4. EricMH: I could use it to detect malicious network traffic or steganography.

    I will pay you real money if you can do this. No, really.

    You want to start a business then this is the way to go. Demonstrate to me that you can identify malicious network traffic at a reliability that beats all other methods and I will arrange with funders I know to fly out and meet you and arrange a deal.

    It so happens I am currently looking at tools that identify malicious traffic and looking to make an investment. Purchasing outright a company or technology that nobody else has access to would be great.

    So, are you up for it?

    This is the sort of thing you will need to do: https://medium.com/@VZMediaPlatform/detecting-malicious-traffic-with-machine-learning-1a4ebc80672e

    I can provide datasets etc if needed. Looking forwards to working with you.

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  5. Eric Hollway’s revival of Bill Dembski’s “explanatory filter” seems to have stirred memories of days gone by when Dr Dembski was running Uncommon Descent. It deserves its own thread perhaps. But as Professor Felsenstein has reminded us of his OP we don’t need to reinvent the wheel. I’ll just feature Joe’s OP for Eric to chew over.

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  6. This thread and how it has veered away several times from the OP, though I’ve tried to gently nudge it back on-topic, reveals perhaps how people in the agnostic / atheist ‘camp’ take much more seriously the notion of ‘Intelligent Design’ theory as something to intentionally oppose, in comparison with swamidass’ GAE hypothesis.

    Then again, it may just be that EricMH is IDist posturing again, which draws reactions because most sane & balanced people reject IDism & IDist propaganda like EricMHs. And he knows this is coming from an Abrahamic monotheist, not an atheist who makes this observation.

    swamidass is at least not posturing propaganda via a PR campaign (surely he’s plotting such things!) that constantly double-talks. Yet, due to his focus on YECism because of his religious environment, swamidass’ views are largely not relevant to most people from the start, as his ally Patrick, now posting here, demonstrates amply. Most mature Christians, while swamidass motions outward, already accept Adam and Eve’s genealogy, without needed a ‘5th voice’ to evangeliize that belief to them. These are the people swamidass has not answered to yet, and which would require more honest reflexivity to face than he has yet shown at PS.

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  7. Gregory: how people in the agnostic / atheist ‘camp’ take much more seriously the notion of ‘Intelligent Design’ theory as something to intentionally oppose, in comparison with swamidass’ GAE hypothesis.

    I agree, but that’s probably because the Discovery Institute tried to push “Intelligent Design” theory into school curricula. If Swamidass starts trying to get “the science of Adam & Eve” into public schools, then you’ll see people get worked up. I’m finally back on the horse with a new post on God-guided evolution and the doctrine of immanence, but Discovery and ID don’t get off the hook. “God’s Presence and Guidance in Evolution”

    http://becomingadam.com/index.php/home/

    I’ll be doing that Swamidass follow-up soon, but here’s a preview:

    GAE “makes God a monster” for at least three reasons:
    After Adam and Eve sin, Swamidass proposes that God had mercy on them and thereby condemned millions of previously sinless biological humans. I’m sorry, but I find that thought monstrous. It resembles the famous Trolley Problem in ethics – divert a runaway train to kill one person, or let it continue on its track and kill five? God would not create such an ethical dilemma for himself. It’s absurd.

    Second, the method of spreading Adam’s sin via genealogy is patently unethical. I illustrated that with Tasmania, but it equally applies to everyone across the globe as Adam’s “family tree” spread. Someone’s third cousin has sex (willingly or unwillingly) with one of Adam’s descendants, and suddenly the entire clan is infected with original sin. Such a process is beneath God. I think it’s fair to call it “monstrous.”

    Finally, the logic of inserting Adam and Eve into recent history is circular. It makes Jesus the solution to a problem that God created. If humanity was effectively sinless until 10-15,000 years ago, why would God introduce Adam and Eve into the equation? There is no satisfactory answer to the question. By intervening into history, God condemned the entire population – millions of supposedly sinless people therefore not deserving death. I really do find this line of thought disturbing.

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  8. Jay313,

    Good to hear back from you here, Jay.

    “If Swamidass starts trying to get ‘the science of Adam & Eve’ into public schools, then you’ll see people get worked up.”

    Yes, fully agreed. That’s why he stays carefully within largely evangelical circles so far. The book is IVP, endorsements are by evangelical ‘theologians’, an atheist biologist and one Jewish geneticist. The audience he is seeking first and foremost are evangelicals, the very same people who ruined the conversation in the first place with their YECism. And he still hasn’t stepped back from his scientistic approach to A&E yet, via genealogy. Yet a bit like Goofy, he doesn’t seem to care!

    While I may come back to this later, let me start by saying that Denis Lamoureux is not a very good role model among evangelical Protestants. Certainly few non-evangelicals will take his ‘ECism’ seriously, as if anyone should wish to take upon themselves the label ‘creationist’ so lightly. He rejects a real, historical Adam & Eve, which is why swamidass calls Lamoureux & Venema “No Adam Christians.”

    BioLogos is full of ex-YECists, who went to the extreme opposite, banishing Adam and Eve from history. It’s a surprising ‘community’ of people at BioLogos, who somehow don’t seem to care about Christian teachings that contradict their current ‘position’ (moving target with Haarsmas!), or have the integrity to face them openly (thus, the swamidass scandal at BioLogos). It seems that some kind of ‘extreme opposite’ view of A&E is what you have taken into your worldview from BioLogos, which is not something I would endorse.

    Now, Jay, if you were a Roman Catholic or Orthodox Christian, do you seriously think you would be making the argumentative claims you have against Adam and Eve … even existing?

    I’m not going to defend swamidass here from your 3 points above. That said, they wouldn’t stand up to scrutiny among devout believers, not among Jews, Christians, Muslims or Baha’is. Maybe a journalist’s, but not a scholar’s scrutiny. And certainly not a serious theologian’s, which most often these days requires looking beyond protestant evangelicalism.

    Sorry, not much to compliment in what you’ve written so far from what seems like a BioLogos-like liberal evangelical viewpoint. There’s a much deeper, solid tradition so far left out, that you’d need to go further than BioLogos does in order to discover for yourself.

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  9. Jay313: GAE “makes God a monster” for at least three reasons

    When I read those reasons, they don’t actually have much to do with GAE.

    You are really arguing that the doctrine of original sin makes God a monster. I actually agree with that. Back when I was a Christian, I never did accept original sin, and for that reason.

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  10. OMagain: Demonstrate to me that you can identify malicious network traffic at a reliability that beats all other methods

    Can’t say I can do that!

    But, it is possible to use CSI to detect malicious traffic at some level of reliability:
    1. Identify anomalous traffic (high complexity)
    2. Determine whether it is trying to access sensitive locations (high specificity)
    If traffic with #1-#2 >> 0 then that’s a good indication it is malicious.

    Similarly with steganography:
    1. Identify anomalous bits in image (high complexity)
    2. See if the bits can map to ASCII characters (high specificity)
    Images with #1-#2 >> 0 quite likely contain a hidden message.

    Now, most likely the above approaches are much less sensitive than cutting edge approaches, but it at least seems like they would work.

    If you can provide the funds for me to not work for a couple weeks, and datasets, I’d happily prototype these ideas.

    Alternatively, you can wait for me to release my general purpose software that can address the above, and buy a copy and service contract.

    Or, do both!

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  11. EricMH: 1. Identify anomalous traffic (high complexity)

    I’m sorry, but that does not even make sense. An exploit can be triggered with payloads much smaller than the ‘normal’ traffic an endpoint would normally receive. Sure, some attacks will be like that but as a heuristic it’s basically wrong.

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  12. OMagain: I’m sorry, but that does not even make sense. An exploit can be triggered with payloads much smaller than the ‘normal’ traffic an endpoint would normally receive. Sure, some attacks will be like that but as a heuristic it’s basically wrong.

    I think it’s the IDT term ‘high complexity’ that is throwing you off. That just means highly improbable traffic pattern given what is normal. It is not the physical size of the payload.

    The explanatory filter has two main steps:
    1. identify highly improbable events (anomalous traffic)
    2. match them to very specific pattern (sensitive IPs, ports, known exploit strings)

    If the traffic passes #1 and #2, then we can infer possibly malicious traffic.

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  13. Neil Rickert: When I read those reasons, they don’t actually have much to do with GAE

    Yes and no. They’re all specific problems with GAE, but other formulations that parachute Adam and Eve into recent history suffer similar problems. GAE simply presents the most acute case. Not all conceptions of original sin make God a monster. Mine doesn’t. haha

    Gregory: Denis Lamoureux is not a very good role model among evangelical Protestants.

    Lamoureux and others are on the right track. Their main problem was that they rejected a historical “fall” because everyone seemed to agree it was incompatible with evolutionary history. What I’ve done (or attempted to do) is show how the “fall” could be historical and fit within the flow of evolutionary history.

    Gregory: BioLogos is full of ex-YECists, who went to the extreme opposite, banishing Adam and Eve from history. It’s a surprising ‘community’ of people at BioLogos, who somehow don’t seem to care about Christian teachings that contradict their current ‘position’ (moving target with Haarsmas!), or have the integrity to face them openly (thus, the swamidass scandal at BioLogos). It seems that some kind of ‘extreme opposite’ view of A&E is what you have taken into your worldview from BioLogos, which is not something I would endorse.

    I’m not an ex-YEC. I quit believing in a global flood and Noah’s Ark around the age of 10. You are attempting to read between the lines regarding the “Swamidass scandal” and BioLogos, but your guess is a bit off. The problem has never been monogenesis vs. polygenesis. You’ll just have to trust me on that. In any case, I didn’t swing from one extreme to the other on Adam and Eve, and my worldview is the same now as when I arrived at BioLogos a few years ago.

    Gregory: Now, Jay, if you were a Roman Catholic or Orthodox Christian, do you seriously think you would be making the argumentative claims you have against Adam and Eve … even existing?

    Interesting hypothetical. I would’ve been a poor Catholic or Orthodox. I’m not good with magisterium, and I disagree with the patriarchs as often as I agree with them. So, the upshot is that I suspect I would still disagree with a historical first couple named Adam and Eve, but I probably wouldn’t have felt the need to offer an alternative. Catholics and Orthodox are not the problem. YEC is the problem.

    Gregory: That said, they wouldn’t stand up to scrutiny among devout believers, not among Jews, Christians, Muslims or Baha’is. Maybe a journalist’s, but not a scholar’s scrutiny.

    I had no idea that Jews, Muslims, and Baha’is had a doctrine of original sin. Thanks for a scholar’s scrutiny on that! 😉

    Gregory: There’s a much deeper, solid tradition so far left out, that you’d need to go further than BioLogos does in order to discover for yourself.

    I may know more than you think, but as I said, Catholics and Orthodox aren’t the problem. I’m not concerned to try to change their minds.

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  14. Jay313: I’m not an ex-YEC. I quit believing in a global flood and Noah’s Ark around the age of 10.

    Really?
    Based on what evidence?

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  15. Jay313: Yes and no. They’re all specific problems with GAE, but other formulations that parachute Adam and Eve into recent history suffer similar problems. GAE simply presents the most acute case. Not all conceptions of original sin make God a monster. Mine doesn’t. haha

    The problem with GAE begins with the idea of another quite acute case of sin:
    bestiality…

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  16. Jay313,

    Thanks, this is helpful.

    “Catholics and Orthodox are not the problem. YEC is the problem.”

    We are agreed that the vast majority of Catholics and Orthodox are not a problem here. Evangelicals promoting YECism are the main problem by far. A disproportionate and very high % of YECists are evangelicals. Do you agree or disagree?

    “Lamoureux and others are on the right track. Their main problem was that they rejected a historical “fall””

    Lamoureux is funny, more than a serious thinker. His ECism is philosophically naive & his dismissal of real, historical Adam & Eve guarantees his isolation from the Tradition. Is that what qualifies him as “on the right track” in your view? His approach in rejecting IDism has changed over the years; on that front he’s fine, but not a major contributor. His reactions at BioLogos to people questioning his published views were not attractive in his own defense.

    “I’m not an ex-YEC.”

    Good to know. Thank God! Neither am I, though I gave YECism an honest & thorough look in the mid-late 90s.

    “The problem has never been monogenesis vs. polygenesis.”

    Which ‘problem’? Maybe not for you as an unaffiliated individual. Yet for many other people it is indeed “a problem”, and not just for Abrahamic monotheists, but for relations with them/us as well. RC Pope JPII addressed doctrinal rejection of polygenesis directly. I assume you reject it & accept monogenesis also? Kemp pointed to this in 2011, as not a few others have done before him. Have you read Kemp’s paper?

    “I would’ve been a poor Catholic or Orthodox.”

    Hard to know unless you’ve tried.

    “I’m not good with magisterium”

    Yes, some evangelicals wish to substitute themselves as their own ‘religious’ authorities, as rebellious hyper-individuals. And thus, YECism was born! ; )

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  17. Gregory: Yes, some evangelicals wish to substitute themselves as their own ‘religious’ authorities, as rebellious hyper-individuals. And thus, YECism was born! ; )

    Thank God you, and Jay133, are so different!
    Without you, and Swamidass, Christianity would have probably collapsed before the inauguration of Peter… 😉

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  18. I’ve never heard any completely compelling evidence the earth and the universe are old. The evidence either seems unreliable, or possible to be interpreted in other ways. To me, it seems that people really want everything to be super old, and interpret evidence accordingly.

    E.g. take carbon dating. Supposedly reliable at least back to 50,000 years ago. However, assumes a consistent level of carbon in the environment. Violate that assumption, and who knows? Also, the fewer carbon atoms there are, the less reliable the half life calculation becomes, creating a big margin of error.

    So, each piece of evidence is unreliable in itself. Thus, scientists say, ‘it is the combination of multiple lines of evidence that show the earth is old.’ But what lines of evidence do they pick as being part of the combination? I don’t see a judicious consideration of all possible evidences for the earth’s age, and then giving them equal weight. Instead, the lines of evidence that favor an old earth are pick since ‘everyone knows the earth is old.’ However, then we merely end up with a circular argument masquerading as scientific fact.

    Thus, while I’m not a YEC myself, I don’t really see the case for OEC as being demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Now, on the YEC side, their argument could actually be stronger (not saying it is, just proposing a hypothetical). If the physical evidence is fairly inconclusive, and thus not very authoritative, then a stronger authority trumps the physical evidence. So, if
    A) the YEC reading of Genesis is most valid, and
    B) we have good evidence that Genesis is provided by an omniscient authority, then
    C) there is greater epistemic weight for the YEC position than the OEC position

    All very hypothetical, but the important takeaway is that one cannot then say, based on this analysis, ‘the earth is old, therefore Genesis is false.’ Each line of evidence has to be considered independently of the other, b/c Genesis could in fact hold more epistemic weight than any possible physical evidence we can amass.

    All this to say the YEC position should not be automatically considered the intellectual pariah it currently is, since there is some fallacious reasoning going on in the background that portrays it as such.

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  19. EricMH: I’ve never heard any completely compelling evidence the earth and the universe are old. The evidence either seems unreliable, or possible to be interpreted in other ways. To me, it seems that people really want everything to be super old, and interpret evidence accordingly.

    Goodness me, Eric! Those Old Testament stories… you think they actually happened? 😯

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  20. EricMH: I’ve never heard any completely compelling evidence the earth and the universe are old.

    Even if the universe and the earth turnout to be very old, the Genesis description still fits, as the creative “days” (however long they were) begun after the initial creation of the heavens and the earth…

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  21. Alan Fox: Goodness me, Eric! Those Old Testament stories… you think they actually happened?

    What’s the alternative?
    A bolt of lightning struck the dust and life came to be?

    Or, someone rearranged the states of particles found in dust?
    I’d go with a more scientific explanation… 😉

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  22. EricMH,

    “the earth is old, therefore Genesis is false.”

    This isn’t a fair conclusion, I agree. It is what most YECists believe though, which is why they reject the ‘old earth’ findings of geology, cosmology & other natural sciences.

    “All this to say the YEC position should not be automatically considered the intellectual pariah it currently is, since there is some fallacious reasoning going on in the background that portrays it as such.”

    No, it’s pretty clearly a pariah position. Marginal biblical literalistic evangelicals isolate themselves with their undereducated approach. Make no mistake; they welcome their pariah status as a sign of evangelicalistic righteousness. It is wrong to defend YECists for their YECism; as people they may be fine, even while in a serious way intellectually and spiritually damaged by YECism.

    Again, you sound so non-Catholic, EricMH, since most Catholics reject YECism without the qualms that you have. Perhaps it’s because the DI simply won’t reject YECism because they need donations from evangelical YECists to pay the salaries of people like you? The money that the DI has received from YECists is considerable, after all, as surely you must be aware.

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  23. J-Mac: I’d go with a more scientific explanation…

    I think we fall into the trap of the how/why distinction. How the World came to be is a legitimate scientific question. Why the World came to be is as unanswerable now as it has always been.

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  24. Alan Fox: Those Old Testament stories… you think they actually happened?

    My understanding is the archeology tends to support the timelines. We used to think archeology contradicted the OT, but it appears the more we discover, the more consistent they are.

    Similar quandary as with the gospels. Most secular NT scholarship these days accept them as very good historical records, some of the best we have.

    With one exception: the miracles.

    Sounds like special pleading to me 🙂

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  25. Gregory: Marginal biblical literalistic evangelicals isolate themselves with their undereducated approach.

    It’s a mistake to identify an idea with a group of people. Ideas should stand or fall on their own merit.

    Otherwise, you fall into exactly the same tribalist trap you claim these literalists fall into 🙂

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  26. EricMH: My understanding is the archeology tends to support the timelines. We used to think archeology contradicted the OT, but it appears the more we discover, the more consistent they are.

    Archaeology is the study of evidence of human activity. There’s reliable evidence of anatomically modern humans from around 300,000 years ago. Fossil evidence shows evidence of stromatolites (built up from microbial biofilm) from 3.5 billion years ago. How is this consistent with the OT?

    Similar quandary as with the gospels. Most secular NT scholarship these days accept them as very good historical records, some of the best we have.

    Cross-referencing would be evidence of historical accuracy. What other sources corroborate NT?

    With one exception: the miracles.

    I think the wedding at Cana is a lovely story.

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  27. EricMH: I’ve never heard any completely compelling evidence the earth and the universe are old. The evidence either seems unreliable, or possible to be interpreted in other ways. To me, it seems that people really want everything to be super old, and interpret evidence accordingly.

    Damn. You’re even more scientifically illiterate than you seemed.

    E.g. take carbon dating. Supposedly reliable at least back to 50,000 years ago. However, assumes a consistent level of carbon in the environment. Violate that assumption, and who knows? Also, the fewer carbon atoms there are, the less reliable the half life calculation becomes, creating a big margin of error

    There’s a classic example of your ignorance and arrogance. Historical C14/C12 ratios aren’t assumed. They are calibrated by at least a dozen independent proxies – lake varves, ice cores, speleothems, coral growth patterns, dendrochronology, seasonal ocean sediments from seafloor cores, etc.

    IntCal13 and Marine13 Radiocarbon Age Calibration Curves 0–50,000 Years cal BP

    If you were half as self-aware as you are arrogant you’d stop embarrassing yourself with these stupid science-free claims.

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  28. Adapa: at least a dozen independent proxies

    To me that sounds like a very small number of proxies for the timeline we are talking about.

    The other thing that makes me think these sorts of arguments are not well supported is how angry people get. If you have a good argument that you can clearly articulate, there is no reason to get angry.

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  29. Alan Fox: Archaeology is the study of evidence of human activity. There’s reliable evidence of anatomically modern humans from around 300,000 years ago. Fossil evidence shows evidence of stromatolites (built up from microbial biofilm) from 3.5 billion years ago. How is this consistent with the OT?

    This pertains more to my point about the evidence for OEC. How are all these ages calculated? Is it done in a non question begging manner, where people don’t assume off the bat the earth must be extremely old, and adjust their measurements accordingly? Otherwise, it is no better than the special pleading of the YEC biblical literalist, that fit data to their own presuppositions.

    I’m not saying you are wrong, nor that I’m not an ignorant, misinformed person. It is just my impression of the dabblings and discussions I have seen. The rhetoric often seems much stronger (and angrier!) than warranted by the evidence.

    This impression is also informed from my readings through the big bioinformatics textbook, where the question begging nature of the ‘science of evolution’ is extremely glaring. If there is so much question begging going on in a field I have some modicum of grasp, bioinformatics, then what about these other fields that I have less of a grasp but also are very wedded to the OEC/evolution perspective?

    At least in my own field of math and comp sci, I can explain what I understand, pretty decently, I think, and I’m not going to fly off the handle if someone misunderstands. I can patiently break things down for them (if they have the patience, too).

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  30. EricMH: To me that sounds like a very small number of proxies for the timeline we are talking about.

    I’m specifically talking about radiocarbon dating, the subject you just demonstrated your pitiful ignorance of. Over a dozen independent proxies which correlate and cross-corroborate back to 50K years.

    That’s the consilience of evidence Creationists are scared to death of.

    The other thing that makes me think these sorts of arguments are not well supported is how angry people get.

    Arrogant shitheads who mouth off in public about topics on which they know nothing do make many scientists angry. We’re fighting every day for scientific literacy in this country and arrogant clowns like you just make the job harder.

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  31. EricMH,

    “It’s a mistake to identify an idea with a group of people.”

    What are you talking about? The sociology of ideas studies the groups of people (not the ‘populations’) that hold to those ideas.

    Ok, so after the non-sequitur, yes, obviously, “Ideas should stand or fall on their own merit.” And YECism has been thoroughly discredited, such that it is mostly biblical literalistic evangelicals who promote & try to defend it. And the thing is, EricMH, no matter how ‘patient’ I were to be with you, it’s an issue that you have to accept ‘morally’, in addition to ‘just technically’. So it’s not only patience, it also has to do with how stubborn or ‘teachable’ a person is in fields which they are not learned. Once familiar with Catholic critiques of YECism, you’ll be able easily and in good conscience to stop this posturing quasi-defense of YECism.

    Tribalism is the calling card of IDM. Don’t forget, EricMH, I’ve seen the DI from the inside, more than once, and went to the same “summer school” for IDism as you did. The tribalism of the IDM makes Behe into an intellectual coward when faced with certain ‘inconvenient’ questions about the ‘theory,’ and without doubt drives the double-talking that most people in the IDM commit. As we have seen here, you are a chronic double-talker about IDT, intentionally, EricMH. It would appear that you do this for the precise reason that you have committed yourself to ideological IDism (you just call it ‘IDT’ though), part of the ‘little tent’ IDM.

    Depart from the IDM, wouldn’t mean necessarily leaving the Catholic church, as you have claimed. It would simply be a step toward removing both the stigma and consequences of a damaged mind that has been highly distorted by ideology that you refuse to name as such. Indeed, the denial showed by leading IDists recently, Michael Behe, Brian Miller, Robert Larmer & Denyse O’Lear, confirms this.

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  32. EricMH: This pertains more to my point about the evidence for OEC. How are all these ages calculated? Is it done in a non question begging manner, where people don’t assume off the bat the earth must be extremely old, and adjust their measurements accordingly? Otherwise, it is no better than the special pleading of the YEC biblical literalist, that fit data to their own presuppositions.

    Now you want someone to spoon feed you all the information on the large scientific field of radiometric dating just because you’re too lazy to Google and read for yourself? No wonder you’re an ID-Creationist.

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  33. EricMH: How are all these ages calculated? Is it done in a non question begging manner, where people don’t assume off the bat the earth must be extremely old, and adjust their measurements accordingly?

    Oh come on! You’re questioning methods without any idea how the science is done?

    1+
  34. Alan Fox: Oh come on! You’re questioning methods without any idea how the science is done?

    With ID-Creationists their arrogance is always directly proportional to their ignorance.

    1+
  35. “There’s reliable evidence of anatomically modern humans from around 300,000 years ago.”

    While that of course goes against YECism, it marks no strike against A&E, does it Alan?

    The difference in approach between EricMH and I here in this instance is stark. EricMH wants to leave the door open to YECism as ‘good science’ so that the DI can maintain its donation strategy with hyper-conservative biblical literalist evangelicals.

    The Roman Catholic church has what’s called the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. It is largely both anti-YECism and also anti-IDism, following Pope Francis’ ‘magic wand’ warning, after the Cardinal Schonborn slip that appeared to support IDT, at the recommendation of former IDist & DI staff, Mark Ryland, who later rejected IDism, just like Francis Beckwith. Is any of this new to you, EricMH, or were you already aware of Catholic defectors from the IDM?

    If Michael Behe had actually listened to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, he likely never would have fallen into infamy with his IDist propaganda and refusal to face simple, crushing blows to IDT from fellow religious believers. Behe takes money to speak at apologetics events, so this is obviously not just about science, as EricMH and many IDists like to make it sound.

    1+
  36. Gregory: While that of course goes against YECism, it marks no strike against A&E, does it Alan?

    Well, it depends. I don’t have to reconcile the Biblical Adam and Eve myth to reality (as I see reality) but if I look at the teachings of Jesus, it seems peripheral at best.

    1+
  37. EricMH:
    I’ve never heard any completely compelling evidence the earth and the universe are old.The evidence either seems unreliable, or possible to be interpreted in other ways.To me, it seems that people really want everything to be super old, and interpret evidence accordingly.

    You are a physicist? Then you should have no problem reading and understanding the technical literature on radiometric dating. Get yourself a couple of textbooks to begin with, then read through some case studies of which there are a great many, covering all geological periods from the Precambrium right up to the Ice Ages.

    Until you have done this you cannot have a rational reason to doubt the results of vast amounts of scientific work carried out over the last 100 years or so, by qualified professionals who are fully aware of the limitations and the uncertainties of the various methods.

    I am not going to give you a crash course on an internet forum, and I am not going to give you links to websites. If you doubt the science, then first learn the science, and then come back to us with reasoned arguments – if you still have any, after having done your homework.

    3+
  38. EricMH: At least in my own field of math and comp sci, I can explain what I understand, pretty decently, I think, and I’m not going to fly off the handle if someone misunderstands. I can patiently break things down for them (if they have the patience, too).

    I am sorry Eric, but that is not the impression I get. You have a track record of obsfucating, declining to engage, and petulant flouncing.
    The most parsimonious explanation is that you can’t even do math and comp sci competently. Your ideas re malicious traffic detection and steg are cases in point, and they serve to highlight the failings of IDT.

    4+
  39. “There’s reliable evidence of anatomically modern humans from around 300,000 years ago.” – Alan Fox

    To which I responded:

    “While that of course goes against YECism, it marks no strike against A&E, does it Alan?” – Gregory

    To which Alan Fox responded,

    “Well, it depends.”

    What does it depend on?

    “I don’t have to reconcile the Biblical Adam and Eve myth to reality (as I see reality) but if I look at the teachings of Jesus, it seems peripheral at best”

    Myth and reality share the same historical references sometimes. The anti-mythic hyper-rationalists, not a few of whom are to be found among natural-physical scientists nowadays, miss the non-mythical aspects of ‘theologies’ that simply run afoul of materialism & naturalism.

    A&E are not ‘peripheral’, but rather ‘central’ to the Christian, Muslim, Jewish & Baha’i worldviews. Indeed, they’re part of the same Abrahamic monotheist sacred scriptural narrative of human history.

    Nevertheless, you’re correct, Alan, even though you don’t ‘believe’ in anything non-material or extra-rational or ‘mythical’ (at least, not that you can name out loud, apparently), that Christianity centres first and foremost around Jesus of Nazareth, not around Adam and Eve.

    Btw, in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, there is a Chapel of Adam on the ground level, inside the front door on the right, nearby underneath the location where Jesus of Nazareth was crucified.

    0
  40. J-Mac: Based on what evidence?

    I’d been to the San Diego Zoo and watched PBS. No way Noah got all the animals onto one boat. (I said I was 10.)

    J-Mac: The problem with GAE begins with the idea of another quite acute case of sin: bestiality…

    I like your picture. I uploaded one of my own from the book “Science Made Stupid.”

    Gregory: Evangelicals promoting YECism are the main problem by far. A disproportionate and very high % of YECists are evangelicals. Do you agree or disagree?

    Absolutely agree. I also would say that they are responsible for bringing us the Culture War. Add that to the YEC anti-science propaganda, and you have the essential reasons so many young people are abandoning the faith. I have no sympathy for YEC leadership or for Swamidass’ attempt to make them a soft, cushy bed to lie in and continue damaging the church.

    Gregory: his dismissal of real, historical Adam & Eve guarantees his isolation from the Tradition. Is that what qualifies him as “on the right track” in your view? … His reactions at BioLogos to people questioning his published views were not attractive in his own defense.

    Yep. In my view, a real, historical Adam & Eve will grow more untenable in the coming decades. I guess we’ll find out. Lamoureux has never been active at BL in the few years that I’ve been there.

    Gregory: Which ‘problem’? Maybe not for you as an unaffiliated individual. Yet for many other people it is indeed “a problem”

    The “problem” between Swamidass and BioLogos. It wasn’t a doctrinal dispute about mono- or polygenism.

    Gregory: Kemp pointed to this in 2011, as not a few others have done before him. Have you read Kemp’s paper?

    Yes, and in my first reply here, I said that I had some questions for you about it. Send me an email, if you’d like to discuss. jayjohnson@becomingadam.com. We can discuss it here, but the peanut gallery makes it difficult to stay focused sometimes.

    EricMH: I’ve never heard any completely compelling evidence the earth and the universe are old. The evidence either seems unreliable, or possible to be interpreted in other ways. To me, it seems that people really want everything to be super old, and interpret evidence accordingly.

    To me, it seems that people wanted Genesis to be literally true, so they discarded and twisted evidence to fit their interpretation. The age of the earth is as beyond dispute as its shape.

    0
  41. Alan Fox: I think we fall into the trap of the how/why distinction. How the World came to be is a legitimate scientific question. Why the World came to be is as unanswerable now as it has always been.

    Materialism and science have a real hardtime answering the “why’s”…

    That’s why (lol) we have so many good for nothing philosophers … and 36,000 Christian religions…

    0
  42. Jay313: I’d been to the San Diego Zoo and watched PBS. No way Noah got all the animals onto one boat. (I said I was 10.)

    You should have read the bible instead, especially the part about KINDS…
    Do you know what KINDS are?

    Jay313: I like your picture. I uploaded one of my own from the book “Science Made Stupid.”

    You are going to fit right in. We have a bunch of phoney Christians here..
    Feel welcomed…
    That’s why I personally have more respect for atheists, who actually read the bible, than for Christians, who haven’t…

    0
  43. faded_Glory: You are a physicist?

    He is sort of a “faded physicist”… unlike you…
    Some mathematicians call physicits Glory-fied mathematicians… but I personally never liked the term…😉

    0
  44. DNA_Jock: I am sorry Eric, but that is not the impression I get

    So, who cares?

    DNA_Jock: You have a track record of obsfucating, declining to engage, and petulant flouncing.

    Now he is talking… big words, no substance…

    DNA_Jock: The most parsimonious explanation is that you can’t even do math and comp sci competently. Your ideas re malicious traffic detection and steg are cases in point, and they serve to highlight the failings of IDT.

    Thank “got” for phoney Christians or we would have never known…what is only known to jock or, better still, that’s what he thinks he knows … 🤣

    0
  45. Alan Fox: Archaeology is the study of evidence of human activity. There’s reliable evidence of anatomically modern humans from around 300,000 years ago. Fossil evidence shows evidence of stromatolites (built up from microbial biofilm) from 3.5 billion years ago. How is this consistent with the OT?

    All is well if the big bang cosmology is kept on lifesupprt… with the age of the universe at 14 billion yo…
    The example of Strange ‘Methuselah’ Star Looks Older Than the Universe just shows that the big bang cosmology needs a major adjustment, or it should be abandoned…

    The calculation can be cooked for a while, because this is how the great majority of science is done these days, but in the end, some people will find flaws, and expose them…
    Spacetime cosmology can’t continue to be above the experimental evidence contradicting it by quantum mechanics…
    This part of relativity is dead wrong… Why should the rest of it be right?
    Because Einstein says it is?

    0
  46. Alan Fox: I think we fall into the trap of the how/why distinction. How the World came to be is a legitimate scientific question. Why the World came to be is as unanswerable now as it has always been.

    It also boils down to the purpose…which materialism strictly denies…

    0
  47. faded_Glory: radiometric dating.

    More Bad News for Radiometric Dating – UNC Computer Science

    Here is year another mechanism that can cause trouble for radiometric dating: As lava rises through the crust, it will heat up surrounding rock. Lead has a low melting point, so it will melt early and enter the magma. This will cause an apparent large age. Uranium has a much higher melting point.

    Eric,
    Don’t buy the same text books faded Glory got, or your glory will fade even further…😂
    You take care of your family! 😊

    0

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