Sal Cordova: Why is there no creationist Isaac Newton?

At UD, Sal asks:

When I watched the Ken Ham vs. Bill Nye debate, I lamented, “Why Lord do we not have an Isaac Newton of today defending your creation?” In years gone by, Christians were at the forefront of intellectual advancement in science, technology, medicine, literature, art, music, etc. I lamented, “dear Lord, why has this happened? Why do you defend your Word and the testimony of your creation this way? Wouldn’t the world be inclined to believe if you raised up someone like Newton to defend creation in the present day?”

76 thoughts on “Sal Cordova: Why is there no creationist Isaac Newton?

  1. So Demski isn’t the Isaac Newton of Information Theory?

    Other than that, I’d just note that the question would be more a matter of the lack of make-up artists capable of making ID appear scientific. Lipstick, pigs, etc.

    God, if there is one, seems content to let the evidence speak.

    Glen Davidson

  2. Glen,

    So Demski isn’t the Isaac Newton of Information Theory?

    He is, but we also need Newtons for creationism, bass fishing and needlepoint.

    God, if there is one, seems content to let the evidence speak.

    Yes, he seems to be rather relaxed about everything. It’s almost as if he isn’t there.

  3. Francis Collins – The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief. Free Press, 2006.

    Salvador is simply confused. He really wants to be a ‘creationist,’ to be an underdog, to be marginal. That is a label he wants to wear based predominantly on his local religious community.

    Yet he realises the evidence is against ‘creationism’ and ‘creation science.’ Sometimes he admits this, sometimes he doesn’t. It’s a waffle show with Cordova. But at least he shows this openly on-line to his credit.

    What he won’t admit, like most IDists, is that Collins is way ahead of the IDM already. He and BioLogos do what IDism cannot do, due to their insistence that IDT is a ‘strictly natural scientific’ theory.

    Cordova wants to be considered scientific, newly minted master of ….? But compare his credentials with members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and they pale. Compare any IDist leader with the credentials of members of the International Society for Science and Religion http://www.issr.org.uk/ and they pale. IDism is mainly a political ideology, the IDM is a political movement, whose funding comes from right-wing evangelical political sources.

    Salvador one day will open his eyes and realise that his energy could have been better spent elsewhere. And Collins, Conway Morris, Heller, Gingerich, R.J. Russell and many others will be waiting on the mountaintop to greet him, if he ever realises this.

    The condition: drop the idiotic ideological self-label ‘creationist.’ Grow in your faith out from this fundamentalist USAmerican backwater.

  4. Sal:

    God doesn’t need an Isaac Newton to defend his creation because the least of his creatures, a humble cell, can vanquish the most brilliant scientist.

    So should we even be doing science at all? It reads as if he prefers that we remain ignorant. And somehow that’s ‘evidence’ for creation.

  5. In years gone by, Christians were at the forefront of intellectual advancement in science, technology, medicine, literature, art, music, etc.

    Really, Sal?

    Is it really necessary to remind you that, at different times and in different places, science also flourished in China, India, Egypt, Greece and under Islam? None of them were Christian.

    History suggests that science will flourish wherever the social and economic conditions are favorable. The dominant religious beliefs of the period are largely irrelevant. Christianity may claim to have created a cultural environment that was conducive to the pursuit of science but that is all.

    Besides, the great scientists of history did not step forward to defend some ideological or religious status quo, they championed radical new ideas and explanations that undermined and overturned status quo’s. You will be disappointed if you expect another Isaac Newton, or even William Paley, to speak up for neo-Paleyism. You will have to make do with William Lane Craig, I’m afraid.

  6. socle:
    Sal:

    God doesn’t need an Isaac Newton to defend his creation because the least of his creatures, a humble cell, can vanquish the most brilliant scientist.

    So should we even be doing science at all?It reads as if he prefers that we remain ignorant.And somehow that’s ‘evidence’ for creation.

    Oh yes, we’re back to “known designers can’t do something” and this is evidence that an unknown designer must have done something that appears almost as if it were supernatural. Awe is the only appropriate response–and maybe some calculations that show that it couldn’t be “chance.”

    Clearly, if you can irreversibly kill an organism, it must not have evolved.* Everyone knows that.

    Glen Davidson

    *I suppose it could be argued that Wells’ BS “argument” was against abiogenesis, not evolution. But since it relies upon a highly evolved organism, not something like what we think earliest life might have been, it doesn’t even have a glancing aquaintance with abiogenesis, and can only be counted as a pathetic “argument” against evolution.

    No wonder Hazen was speechless.

  7. Sal Cordova:

    Maybe God wants the most intellectual and educated in the world to be the ones that will be fooled by their own folly. I lament that there are no Isaac Newtons in Christendom today, but it seems God delights in choosing the least qualified by worldly standards to shatter the gates of hell.

    Pastor Ray Mummert:

    We’ve been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of the culture.

  8. Sal:

    I sometimes wonder if the church isn’t squandering the gifts and talents that God sends its way.

    It certainly is. Questioning is discouraged, especially in evangelical churches. Curious, intelligent thinkers tend to leave the church, or else their talents atrophy from disuse or confinement.

    Anyway, even a Newton couldn’t make YEC scientifically respectable. You can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear, no matter how talented you are.

  9. This part is especially goofy:

    Dr. Hazen stood up and accused Dr. Wells of promoting religion. Dr. Wells calmly smiled and responded by posing the following observation to Dr. Hazen in front of the students and faculty (an observation which he has often repeated to others):

    If we place a small amount of sterile salt solution in a test tube at just the right temperature and acidity, add a living cell, and then poke a hole in that cell with a sterile needle, the contents will leak out. We will have in our test tube all of the molecules needed for life, in just the right proportions (relative to each other) and already assembled into complex specified DNAs, RNAs, proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates. But we will not be able to make a living cell out of them. We cannot put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

    Dr. Hazen just stood there speechless, turning red before he stormed out of the room. God doesn’t need an Isaac Newton to defend his creation because the least of his creatures, a humble cell, can vanquish the most brilliant scientist.

    What is the supposed point? We can’t assemble a cell from scratch, therefore God?

  10. Is it just me or does Sal’s account of Hazen’s protest at Wells’s lecture read too much like a Jack Chick tract to be taken at face value? I can understand Hazen being stumped for an adequate response temporarily but a moment’s thought shows that Wells’s “gotcha” moment is no such thing and, if anything, supports Hazen’s contention that Wells was promoting religion.

    As for Sal’s heartrending account of how he almost lost his faith but had it restored by the evidence he discovered in his study of ” intelligent design, creation science, archaeology and apologetics” I can only say his version of Christianity is different from the one in which I was raised. In my day, faith was something you held regardless of the evidence not because of it.

  11. keiths:
    This part is especially goofy:

    Dr. Hazen just stood there speechless, turning red before he stormed out of the room. God doesn’t need an Isaac Newton to defend his creation because the least of his creatures, a humble cell, can vanquish the most brilliant scientist.

    What is the supposed point? We can’t assemble a cell from scratch, therefore God?

    Did everyone else think Big Daddy when they read the part about Dr Hazen storming out of the room?

    Edit: I guess so!

  12. If I break apart a mountain, It won’t spontaneously reassmble itself either, despite all the constituents being there. The mountain is even much less complex than the cell.

    Yet mountains form naturally and we have found out how.

  13. Christians are (along with a slew of non-Christians) at the forefront of all those fields and more.

    YEC, not so much.

  14. SeverskyP35: Is it just me or does Sal’s account of Hazen’s protest at Wells’s lecture read too much like a Jack Chick tract to be taken at face value?

    It’s just Humpty Dumpty, dressed up in a lab coat.

  15. Is it just me or does Sal’s account of Hazen’s protest at Wells’s lecture read too much like a Jack Chick tract to be taken at face value?

    Call me if he ever makes non-trivial statements that should be taken at face value.

    Glen Davidson

  16. Why do you defend your Word and the testimony of your creation this way? Wouldn’t the world be inclined to believe if you raised up someone like Newton to defend creation in the present day?”

    Might that have something to do with “genetic entropy?”

  17. Ken ham did a better job then any newton ever would. He did a great historic job. Never before has yEC creationism, head to head, had such a audience. 10 million at last count. its brought great credibility and maybe a few bucks.

    Issac newton was no Newton. He was just a part of a spectrum of a rising English intellectualism. This from the puritan intrusion into English moral and intellectual life.
    English people oNLY became more intelligent and moral, relative to other protestant peoples and rest, because of very Evangelical puritan influence in the east and south of 16th, 17th England. They were the origin of the new middle class, and the civil war, and this copied in New England.
    the modern civilization and science is from a rise in the intelligence of evangelical English, and Scottish, people.
    We created the smarts to make sciency better here.
    In fact other civilizations had science too but were too dumb as a group to do much.
    Its because of a higher intellect that creationism is most strong in the anglospere.
    Isaac Newton only kew a few minor things in physics and Alchemy.
    Entry stuff but back in the day only a few cats took a stab at it.
    Creationists, Yec and iD, are today the innovators in scientific thought.
    In watching the iD thinkers you are watching the smartest scientists in these matters alive today. YEC adding a little also.
    Our world was not created by scientific methodology but by a superior moral and intellectual common people.
    A smarter curve in the intellect. Everyone else either learned from us or moved into us. Its a very evangelical Puritan english planet.
    newton was a tip of the iceberg in certain areas.

  18. socle,

    the least of his creatures, a humble cell, can vanquish the most brilliant scientist.

    I presume we’re not just talking gastroenteritis here!

  19. Perhaps God is tearing his hair out. “Darwin, Wallace, Mendel … I couldn’t spell it out more plainly. Evolution, you dumb bastards! That’s how I did it! If I find out who stuck that spoof Foreword into the Bible, there’ll be Hell to pay”.

  20. Or maybe he doesn’t care what we believe. He’s just here for the beetles (or the Beatles).

  21. “Its a very evangelical Puritan english planet.”

    Gee, Robert, you don’t happen to be an evangelical Protestant native-English speaker, do you?

  22. One crashingly obvious reason that there’s no real creationist Isaac Newton is that Newton built upon the best science of his day, for instance, using the evidence and interpretations coming from Kepler and Galileo.

    Creationists do anything but accept the best science of today, so can build nothing more than cheesy apologetics.

    Glen Davidson

  23. GlenDavidson:
    One crashingly obvious reason that there’s no real creationist Isaac Newton is that Newton built upon the best science of his day, for instance, using the evidence and interpretations coming from Kepler and Galileo.

    Creationists do anything but accept the best science of today, so can build nothing more than cheesy apologetics.

    Glen Davidson

    Instead we are correcting errors in certain subjects touching on origins.
    We are like Sherlock Holmes. We do a better job of investigation over well meaning, I guess, but less able Scotland yard detectives.
    The science is not really science but speculation about events and processes never witnessed or duplicated.
    Thats why origin subjects, unlike real science subjects, is famous today for being attacked and defending themselves from attack on conclusions.
    This forum exists for this very reason.
    There are no forums defending scientific theories anywhere or defending they are a scientific theory.
    Evolution is truly pseudoscience or rathe unsupported hypothesis,

  24. Gregory: Gee, Robert, you don’t happen to be an evangelical Protestant native-English speaker, do you?

    Yes but that don’t change you can measure things and its clear about conclusions.
    It really is true the modern world was created by a rise in a general moral and intellectual measurement. This from the true faith made popular by the reformation especially amongst the English and Scottish people.
    They were the most protestant and indeed they were defined as Puritans or evangelicals . However it all confirms its about human motivation discovering information in the world and universe.
    It just was a true faith that motivated enough people. the rest just were hangers on to this very day.
    Thats the reason the world speaks english. a very unlikely thing if one had lived in 1400 or 1500 AD.

  25. Richardthughes:
    Does anyone think that if Newton lived in modern times he would still be a creationist?

    Yes. He was sharp enough about the unlikelyness of order being created from chaos. His alchemy ideas however he would quietly drop.
    i think he would of rooted for Ham and not Nye.

  26. thank you for reading the essay,

    The changes were:

    1. the wording now should make utterly clear that I was lamenting there is no one of Newton’s universal stature and reputation today who defends creation

    2. I clarified with one paragraph that there are many causes for this: secularization of culture, persecutions, Newton’s unique position in history. But then said there is one overlooked problem, the modern church itself.

    The audience was primarily creationists. Secularists will argue there are no creationists of Newton’s stature because creationism is false. I respect that, but the essay was requested by Doug Sharp at RAE.org to point out to churches some of the problems.

    It may be surprising to non-church goers that creationism isn’t exactly welcomed in congregations and by preachers! It has been a grass roots movement somewhat outside formal church sanctioning (i.e. since when has the Pope or major protestant bishops come out in favor of creation, not even in my denomination PCA is it a doctrinal issue, maybe not even other denominations).

    I mean, no pastor ever said to me, “Sal, go teach and defend creation.” Don’t think I ever heard one preacher denounce evolution except the few times mentioned in the essay.

    Doug Sharp hosts a TV show and he asked me to write the essay since he wants to air something on the topic I raised. We’ll see.

    Now, Keiths was thinking about becoming a Lutheran minister once upon a time. He might be able to share some insights into how many times he heard evolution denounced during mass.

  27. David,

    I look at the empirical evidence in this case. I don’t see dead cells evolving into living ones. A dead dog, stays a dead dog. Law of biogenesis, etc.

    Biopolymers and other biological materials degrade and decompose. If there were spontaneous generation, I’d probably be an atheist.

    Larry Moran, a professor biochemistry criticized Wells, and it was clear Moran didn’t even understand what Wells was saying. Moran ridiculed a strawman.

    Sorry for the terse answer. I don’t participate here very often. Thank you for asking however.

    Sal

  28. Not to mention, all the cells that are alive today are part of an uninterrupted chain of replication going back to the origin of life.

  29. stcordova:
    David,

    I look at the empirical evidence in this case.I don’t see dead cells evolving into living ones.

    No-one claims abiogenesis was a dead cell evolving into a living one, and certainly not in an afternoon. Wells’s example is the height of creationist looniness. We know for sure that he isn’t the new Isaac Newton, and your willingness to retain this misleading nonsense is a clue to why the Creationist Isaac Newton won’t appear on the scene anytime soon.

  30. I don’t see dead cells evolving into living ones.

    Once again the lack of miracles is posited as a reason not to accept evolution. Then miracles are assumed in lieu of no miraculous evolution.

    Creationist logic.

    Glen Davidson

  31. stcordova: If there were spontaneous generation, I’d probably be an atheist.

    What about the empty tomb, fulfilled biblical prophecies, and your personal relationship with Jesus? Surely the most important thing in your life, your Christian faith, is based on more than a conjecture concerning the behavior of inanimate matter?

  32. stcordova I mean, no pastor ever said to me, “Sal, go teach and defend creation.”

    That was unfortunate. Jonathan Wells was luckier.

    Father’s words, my studies, and my prayers convinced me that I should devote my life to destroying Darwinism, just as many of my fellow Unificationists had already devoted their lives to destroying Marxism. When Father chose me (along with about a dozen other seminary graduates) to enter a Ph.D. program in 1978, I welcomed the opportunity to prepare myself for battle.

    stcordova I don’t see dead cells evolving into living ones.

    Perhaps you don’t watch for long enough. If you did, you might see it decompose. You might see the compounds, molecules and atoms of which it was once composed become food for other living things. Even if not eaten immediately, they will disperse into the environment eventually to be integrated into other living things, perhaps becoming part of other cells.

    stcordova A dead dog, stays a dead dog

    No, it doesn’t. See above.

    stcordova Biopolymers and other biological materials degrade and decompose

    Yes, they do. But again, see above.

    stcordova Sorry for the terse answer

    There is nothing ncessarily wrong with brevity. When you have a moment, you might mention that to kairosfocus and vjtorley.

  33. “since when has the Pope or major protestant bishops come out in favor of creation” – stcordova

    Cordova expects people to believe that?! Hmmm, has he never read a papal encyclical? Try LUMEN FIDEI, the most recent. See any mention of ‘creation’ there? Most encyclicals speak of ‘creation’. http://www.papalencyclicals.net/all.htm

    Or for Protestants, try this: http://biologos.org/search?s=Creation

    What Cordova is denying himself from understanding, nay, flat out deceiving himself into believing, is that being ‘in favour of creation’ does not make one a creationist. A creationIST is an ideologue, plain and simple.

    A person who is ‘in favour of creation’ needn’t accept the warped ideology of ‘creationism’ (held mainly USAmerican fundamentalists & evangelical Protestants, e.g. Cordova’s PCA).

    Note that the PCA holds an ideologically-naïve view of ‘creationism’ and lumps everyone who “affirms that the universe is a creation of God” as representatives of ‘creationism’: http://www.pcahistory.org/creation/report.html

  34. Ah yes, DH, but ‘theistic evolution’ is not an ideology, unlike your agenda-driven agnosticism/atheism. You’re as primitive as fundamentalists are and perhaps/likely more so. The charm is that you still won’t admit it.

  35. davehooke,

    What, are you saying that science proves there is no God — I thought science was neutral on that point.
    I think that God permeates everything, but in a passive way, such that its easy to take him (her, it) for granted. Whatever direction nature turns it incrementally finds workable variations — that’s God, AFAIC.

  36. “Good one.”

    Theistic evolution is not ideological. Theistic evolutionism is ideological.

    And of course, agnosticism and atheism are ideological, one or both of which davehooke calls his personal ‘worldview.’

    Not hard, but apparently far too complicated for davehooke to speak clearly.

  37. God equates to Reality. You look at the biological world and say, “This is what Reality is capable of doing.” I say “This is what God is capable of doing.”

    ID’ists seem to want to say that there are remote “islands of functionality” that can only be reached by divine miraculous creation ex-nihilo. But what if they are wrong. What if those islands are connected by innumerable other functional islands, reachable incrementally — then that implies that God/Reality is much more magnanimous and capable than IDists ever imagined. I think God is.

  38. JT:
    davehooke,

    What, are you saying that science proves there is no God — I thought science was neutral on that point.
    I think that God permeates everything, but in a passive way, such that its easy to take him (her, it)for granted.Whatever direction nature turns it incrementally finds workable variations — that’s God, AFAIC.

    Science doesn’t prove anything, strictly speaking. However, Christianity is effectively falsified, yes. Not just by science. See my blog for a list of reasons not to believe Christianity is true.

    You can always add extraneous elements to a theory, but if they are not necessary why are you doing that? Psychological and political reasons. You could maintain that a genie called Bill holds onto arrows and flies along to make them move through the air, and no-one could prove you wrong. However, Bill is undetectable and unnecessary to the explanation. He might as well not be there.

    You can always say that some non-physical entity is involved in any process, but if they have no discernable physical effect on the process, in what sense are they involved?

    I’ve linked to this article in another thread, but no harm in posting it twice.

    The (biological) theory of evolution posits that offspring are not significantly different to their parents, so any point at which a soul is inserted is unfair to mum and dad. Species is a useful concept, but life is a continuum. Also, in what sense is the hypothetical person without a soul less human than their child who supposedly has one? Can they not love? Do they not see beauty? Are they not capable of morality? Remember that the most insensitive, brutish human alive today is as fully human as any paragon you care to name.

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