A Typical Email Exchange with a Creationist

by David C. Wise

In the time since I first put my creation/evolution web pages up on the Web in 1997, I have received several emails in response. A few expressed gratitude. A couple offered more information. A few disagreed but posed thoughtful questions.

But, unfortunately, the rest of the email, the vast majority of them, were hostile. They would almost never say which page or what particular statement(s) they objected to, which made it difficult for me to respond. Indeed, most of their attacks didn't seem to have anything at all to do with what I had written, which made it quite apparent to me that they hadn't even bothered to read whatever it was that had triggered their attack.

I try to reply to as many of them as I can, time and work allowing. The vast majority of them would not answer back, making them "hit and run" posters (a term used in newsgroups, wherein someone -- eg, a "troll" -- would write a single inflammatory post and then sit back and giggle over the rash of indignant responses it would generate). Though by responding to them, a few turned into brief email correspondences, most of which degenerated very quickly due to the creationist's continued hostility and refusal to engage in actual discussion. But on rare occasions, there would be a fruitful discussion, such as one I had with a young creationist who wrote asking about an especially ludicrous solar-mass-loss claim he had been taught by a Christian camp counselor, which led me to discovering a similar though slightly better-crafted bogus claim being made by Kent Hovind.

I decided yesterday that I should post an example and I chose this particular exchange for this post for two reasons:

I am presenting the emails as they originally appeared with the following exceptions:

Synopsis of the Exchange:

Complete transcripts:

Subj: excuse me what do you mean?
Date: 05/04/2002 18:44:10 Pacific Daylight Time
From: [address deleted to ensure privacy]
Reply-to: [address deleted to ensure privacy]
To: dwise1@aol.com
Game? I ask what game are you speaking of? Creation scientists base their thoeries on observations in nature, like evolutionists, we have as much, if not more, a reason to be heard. There isn't anything here that can disprove creation of the Bible. It's not mytholgy. Whether you want to believe it or not, predictions in the Bible were fulfilled years after they were told. God's creation have certain abilities that couldn't possibly have happened by chance. You can shake us, but you can't throw us off, because, like it or not, there are still many ways to search and find the truth.

Please don't take our message harshly, we're trying to establish the greater good for all of mankind. Unfortunaltly, it takes a little bit of faith to find the truth, but once you reach it, you can't be stirred by other claims.


BUT go on, fall for every lie in the book if you want. Be decieved, if you won't listen to the truth.

Subj: Re: excuse me what do you mean?
Date: 05/13/2002 12:47:45 Pacific Daylight Time
From: DWise1
To: [address deleted to ensure privacy]
CC: DWise1
>>Game? I ask what game are you speaking of? <<
As I should ask YOU too! What "game" are you talking about here? You are obviously upset about something -- apparently something I have written or you think I have written -- , but I am at a loss as to how to help you because you have neglected to tell me what that "something" is supposed to be. In short, I do not know what you are talking about.

And excuse me, but who are you anyway? I have no nemory nor record of having ever corresponded with you before, so you can't be picking where we left off. Even if we had corresponded before, COMMON COURTESY requires that you let me know what statements of mine you are talking about. What is the CONTEXT of this email of yours? Without that context, I cannot address your concerns properly. A reference would be very helpful. Quoting the statement in question would be even better (since the original is already available to you in electronic form, copy-and-paste is a simple operation that requires minimal effort on your part; if you are not familiar with the procedure then I would be glad to instruct you).

At the very least, you should introduce yourself, part of which process usually includes providing the requisite information regarding the context. You see? A simple introduction can actually make your job easier. It can also set a more cordial tone that promotes the exchange of ideas and information. In contrast, your email has a hostile and confrontational tone that elicits response in kind, usually leading to the exchange of invective instead of information -- that is an undesirable situation. As much as I will try to overlook your hostile tone, it will undoubtedly still color my response and make it a bit sharper than it should be. You would do well to learn and follow that ancient Pharisee teaching, the Golden Rule: "Do not to others that which is displeasing to yourself. That is the whole of the Law; the rest is just explanation." (Rabbi Hillel, c. 20 BCE).

So what ARE you "responding" to? Was it a web page of mine? I have posted several (more than 80, I estimate), so you do need to tell me which one. Had you corresponded with me under a different name? In that case then you do really need to inform me of that fact. Are you "responding" to an email that I had written to somebody else and that they have passed on to you? Then you definitely need to inform me of that fact. Was it something that I had written on a forum once? Well then, there again you must inform me of that source. Had you just been told by somebody, second-hand or third-hand, about something I had allegedly written? You would need to tell me that, too.

In any case, you should either quote or describe as well as you can what I had purportedly written. If you object to something I had said or written and I don't know what you are refering to, then how can I possibly respond? I would have to make a guess and probably end up guessing wrong. Or have to try to respond to all possibilities.

OK, for the rest of my response, which can only be based on what I GUESS you are talking about. If that guess turns out to be wrong, then you now know why it is wrong and what you must do to correct it.

And if my response seems overly long to you, please bear in mind that I have had to try to respond to all possibilities of what you were saying. You know how correct that.

I've had to split my response into multiple emails. More to follow.

Subj: Re: excuse me what do you mean?
Date: 05/13/2002 12:48:20 Pacific Daylight Time
From: DWise1
To: [address deleted to ensure privacy]
CC: DWise1

[NOTE: please notice how I quote the point from your email to which I am responding. This way, you know what I am refering to.]

>>Creation scientists base their thoeries on observations in nature, like evolutionists, ... <<

Sorry, but that is just not true. Creation science operates by rummaging through the scientific literature AND POPULARIZATIONS of science (ie, nonscientific books and magazine articles whose purpose is to explain the workings and findings of science to the non-science general public) for anything that they can in any way use for their own purposes. In that process, they frequently misquote and misrepresent their sources and they routinely misrepresent what science and evolution are, how they work, and what they teach. I'll be very generous and point out that much of that misrepresentation is similar to popular misconceptions the general public have about evolution and science, though I'm not sure whether they are consciously exploiting the public's ignorance or just don't know any better themselves -- probably both.

Now, there is a two-centuries-old tradition of people -- scientists and non-scientists alike -- trying to find scientific evidence that supports their religious beliefs. That is not what creation science is, even though creation science does use and misuse their work much as they do that of mainstream science. And there are creationists who are also scientists and who do conduct actual research and try to do so honestly. Unfortunately, they are a definite minority, though creation science will exploit their work as well.

You see, creation science is not about science. Nor is it about seeking the truth. What it is is a political ploy whose original primary purpose was to circumvent Epperson vs Arkansas (1968) which banned the "monkey laws" that the anti-evolution movement had depended on for the prior four decades. Their method for doing this was to take the work of the creationists who had come before them -- including anti-evolutionist attacks against science going back to WWI, some of which are still very current in anti-evolution rhetoric -- , remove all overt Christian and biblical references, and claim that it is "scientific" evidence for creation and there's nothing religious about it so there can be no objection to teaching it in the public schools. You can see an example of this in at http://cre-ev.dwise1.net/cmodel.html .

It is this superficial rewording of religious material in order to deceptively pass it off as non-religious that is refered to as being the game of "Hide the Bible". I assume that this is what you were refering to. Even creation-science activists have called it a game; Paul Ellwanger, author of the model bill on which Arkansas Act 590 was based (which led to the 1981 court case), stated in a letter (which was later submitted as evidence in the trial): "... -- the idea of killing evolution instead of playing these debating games that we've been playing for nigh over a decade already."

Almost all of creation science -- from their debate strategy to "balanced-treatment" classes to the very nature of the claims -- is based on creation science's "Two Model Approach", which states that there are two and only two mutually-exclusive positions: the "creation model" and the "evolution model". Creation science then "proves" the "creation model" solely by attacking the "evolution model". Creation science debates are structured around the "Two Model Approach" and there, too, the creationist side first establishes the premise of the "Two Model Approach" and then just attacks the "evolution model" without ever presenting the "creation model" and, reportedly, refusing to present any evidence FOR the "creation model" or defending it. And in all the descriptions of "balanced-treatment" classes that I have read, the students are repeatedly urged to make a choice between a Creator and atheism.

The "Two Model Approach" is an example of the informal fallacy called the "False Dilemma", in which you are forced to make a choice and your options are artificially restricted to only a few, usually two. Its purpose is to deceive and manipulate people, especially large groups of people, into taking certain actions while hiding from them what their real choices are. Do a search on that keyword and you will find several pages which describe it. It is often used in political speeches and in religious proselytizing (it is used very often in fundamentalist Christian materials, both those intended to proselytize and those intended for members). I cannot think of any situation in which use of a False Dilemma would not be for the purpose of deceiving and manipulating.

The goals and motivation of science and creation science account for the major differences between them. Basically, the goal of science is to learn how the physical universe works, which sets its high standards of scholarship, integrity, and verification. A scientist's own research depends on the veracity of the research he's basing it on, so fraud and shoddy work is dealt with harshly by the scientific community. And when mistakes are made (which is often and inevitable) or hoaxes committed, they will be found and corrected.

OTOH, the goal of creation science isn't trying to learn anything new, but rather to convince people. This motivates creationists to seek and invent claims and arguments that sound convincing, regardless of whether they are true or not. This sets the low standards of shoddy scholarship (collect and retell the claims without trying to verify them, somewhat like spreading urban legends) and lack of integrity (even after a convincing-sounding claim has been thoroughly refuted, it continues to circulate as if nothing had happened). A creationist's work depends on sounding convincing, so his reputation within the creationist community is largely immune from being exposed for shoddy work or committing fraud. There is no motivation for correcting mistakes or exposing fraud within the creationist community.

So, "creation scientists" most certainly do NOT operate like "evolutionists" (please define what an "evolutionist" is; to see a comparison between scientists and creationists, read my page under construction at http://cre-ev.dwise1.net/cs_vs_sci.html ). Besides, much of creation science requires turning a blind eye to the real evidence, quite the opposite of "bas[ing] their thoeries on observations in nature".

And that is one of the principal problems that creation science poses for its followers: its claims are contrary to fact. Since they are also taught that creation science must be true or else Scripture would have no meaning, it requires its followers to be careful not to look too closely. Please read my quotes page at http://cre-ev.dwise1.net/quotes.html for the testimony of creationists who did dare to look and the consequences that had on their faith. A couple additional sources not yet up on my site:

Robert Morphis' "What Harm is done by Creation Science?" at [link broken], in which he maintains:
"... the evidence suggests that those who ascribe to Creation Science, esp. those who promote it, tend to:
  • Drive Christians to become atheists, agnostics and deists,
  • Become severely self-deluded and/or morally degenerate,
  • Engage in slander. "

D. Jon Scott's testimony on his "Genesis Panthesis" http://genesispanthesis.tripod.com/main.html . Click on the link labelled "What is the Inspiration for the Genesis Panthesis Website?" for the testimonial of how creation science drove this creation-science activist to becoming anti-Christian.

Just for the record, I will state here that THE single most important issue regarding creation science is TRUTHFULNESS. The main problem I have with creation science is its lack of truthfulness. Or, as Orson Scott Card put it: "The Truth never needs to be upheld by a lie!"

More to follow.

Subj: Re: excuse me what do you mean?
Date: 05/13/2002 12:48:51 Pacific Daylight Time
From: DWise1
To: [address deleted to ensure privacy]
CC: DWise1

>> ... , we have as much, if not more, a reason to be heard.<<
So what are you complaining about? You [pl] have been very vociferous for over three decades and continue to try a number of political means to push your political agenda. How much more heard could you possibly be?

Please notice, however, that the one place that you [pl] avoid trying to be heard is precisely where you need to speak out if you are indeed doing science: in the scientific community. And why is that? I mean, if these "creation scientists" were really doing scientific work and making scientific discoveries, they would WANT to make it known, wouldn't they? I mean, that would vindicate them! All their detractors who've been saying all these decades that creationists aren't doing science would have their noses rubbed in it but good! Besides, they would be obligated to present any actual scientific discoveries. Especially considering that they'd be overturning most of our scientific understanding of the physical universe. So why do they avoid presenting their "scientific" findings?

And before you try to claim that they are not allowed to publish, please be aware that they don't even submit anything to be published. In 1984, Ray Briem's radio talk show hosted Duane Gish and Fred Edwords (American Humanist Assoc.). Edwords mentioned that creationists don't try to publish, which launched Duane Gish into a tirade that they would never be allowed to. This despite Edwords repeatedly telling him that he knows scientific journal publishers who were practically begging for articles from creationists. It's not that they would not be allowed to publish, but rather that they do not even try to submit anything. Why not?

My friend, Charles Lang, wondered the same thing [ http://cre-ev.dwise1.net/warum.html ]. He was a staunch fundamentalist creationist I met at work. Duane Gish was his hero. We went to see Gish & H. Morris debate Thwaites & Awbrey in Long Beach in 1985. That's where I saw Morris use the bogus moondust claim which I tell about [ http://cre-ev.dwise1.net/moondust.html ]. First, Charles was not happy to see the creationists selling all those books based on the bombadier beetle claim that Gish had publicly acknowledged to be false years before -- and, yes, the ICR does still use it. Then as we were leaving after the debate, Charles was dumbfounded. "We have all this irrefutable evidence that would have blown those evolutionists away and there would have been nothing they could have done about it! Why didn't they present any of it?" We lost touch shortly thereafter, but when we met again five years later he was still a fundamentalist Christian but he was thoroughly disgusted with creation science and wanted nothing to do with it.

Ed describes himself as having been a creation-science addict (I recommend his testimony, but my link to it is broken [* see footnote for update]). His awakening to the truth happened when he was watching a Kent Hovind tape a friend had just loaned him for a "fix":

"One day, being psyched-up for a new fix, I popped in a video I had received from a young man at Church. The tape was a series of debates (about eight), between a famous "young earther" and various evolutionists. After viewing them, I found my jaw on the floor. I truly expected these evolutionists to roll over and die after being presented with this battering of "facts" - they didn't! I was truely numbed and frankly, pretty upset with the manners of this "young earther." I had to come to some serious conclusions that day.

"Scientists have answers for each point raised, e.g. shrinking sun, polystrate fossils etc., they were NOT surprised at all!

"Creation Science is not science. I watched as this creationist fellow was repeatedly being cornered, relying on miracle after miracle to answer their questions. Yes, God can and does perform miracles, but these were miracles that were not even in the Bible - that's not science!"

[Footnote * -- Update, 2006 March 10:
At the time of the email, Ed had disappeared for some time, so shortly after this email I reposted Ed's pages (which I had saved for reading off-line) at http://members.aol.com/billyjack6/ceaa151b/index.html (link now broken) -- I seem to recall that it was this email that had made me see the need to repost them. Then Ed contacted me again a year later with a new web site URL and the intention to renovate his pages; his new site is at http://home.comcast.net/~whatrymes/index.html ]

A German once explained to me that Hitler's fatal blunder in invading the Soviet Union was due to his having become a victim of his own propaganda. Germany was not well-enough equipped to wage such a war, but the Nazi propaganda machine kept boasting about their own superiority, including in war materiel. Politically, Hitler could not justify boasting that they were more than ready and yet delaying Operation Barbarosa until they were actually ready.

Similarly, "creation scientists" CLAIM that they have all this great evidence, whereas in reality all they have is that claim and no actual evidence. They don't even have a real model, just a rhetorical strategy (c/o their "Two Model Approach" False Dilemma) of attacking science. And their only means of attacking science is to misquote, misconstrue, and misrepresent everything they can. No wonder they refuse to present their case to the scientific community! Not only would the scientists see right through the "creation scientists'" subterfuge immediately, there isn't even a case to be presented!

One source of frustration for myself and many others in trying to discuss creation/evolution with creationists is that they would never present any evidence FOR creation; all of their "evidences" are almost purely attacks against evolution and science. Even in the debates, their professionals would refuse to present any evidence FOR creation and even refuse to present the "creation model" itself, with the excuse that they don't want to bring religion into a "scientific" debate (another nail in the coffin of your opening statement). Of course, that is their False Dilemma in action (H.Morris appealed directly to it when I asked him for that evidence), but the lack of evidence FOR creation is emblematic of a much deeper problem.

Refer to the scientific method and the methodology for hypothesis building/testing and theory formulation. Basically, a theory is a model which explains how some phenomenon works. It is not just a "wild guess" as creation science misrepresents it, but rather it is the best explanation we currently have for how that part of the physical universe works. That theory has to be formulated, built up. Basically, we start out by observing the phenomenon. From our current best understandings (AKA "theories") we form hypotheses to try to explain our observations. We test those hypotheses and modify them or replace them as needed. We go through several iterations of this. From that hypothesis building and testing, we develop an understanding of what is happening which we form into our theory.

Now, it should be interesting to note that one by-product of this process is the accumulation of evidence! With the repeated observing and testing, the evidence mounts virtually all by itself. If you actually go through the process of building a theory/model, then you cannot avoid collecting evidence FOR that theory/model. It's inescapable.

Conversely, the extreme paucity of any evidence FOR creation indicates that these "creation scientists" had in fact NOT gone through the process of theory/model building. Contrary to your opening statement, "Creation scientists" do NOT "base their thoeries on observations in nature"; they don't even have any theories (at the last International Conference on Creationism, Dr. Kurt Wise observed that creation models for most branches of the physical science are strikingly nonexistent). And they most certainly do NOT operate like "evolutionists" (please define what an "evolutionist" is; to see a comparison between scientists and creationists, read my page under construction at http://cre-ev.dwise1.net/cs_vs_sci.html ). Besides, much of creation science requires turning a blind eye to the real evidence, quite the opposite of "bas[ing] their thoeries on observations in nature".

Since you are making me guess, I would assume that another aspect of your "be[ing] heard" is in the form of "balanced treatment" curricula in the public school science classroom. That is a very bad idea:

  1. Evolution belongs in the science classroom. Evolution is a fundamental, unifying scientific idea of biology that biology students need to learn and to understand.

  2. The children of creationists especially need to learn evolution. How are they supposed to carry on the fight against evolution if they don't know anything about evolution and are only given creation science misinformation? Ignorance and misunderstanding of the enemy is disasterous; Sun Tzu taught us that long ago.

  3. Creation science does not belong in the science classroom:
    1. It misinforms and misleads.
    2. It does not serve an educational purpose.
    3. It works against the purpose of science education, which is for the student to understand the major ideas of science without being compelled to believe in those ideas.
    4. It promotes ignorance and misunderstanding.
    5. It seeks to compel students to accept its beliefs.
    6. It falsely informs students that they must choose between their faith and evolution and it coerces them into making that false choice, which is known to have caused some students to choose atheism [read what happened in Livermore, Calif, http://cre-ev.dwise1.net/Livermore.html ].
Everyone who tries to oppose evolution first needs to learn evolution. Then they can actually deal with and attack EVOLUTION itself and its actual problems and weaknesses instead of creation science's strawman misrepresentations of evolution and of science.

The actual goal of "balanced treatment" is to "kill evolution" and remove it from the curriculum. That would ensure the students' ignorance of it, which is counterproductive to the mounting of any real opposition to evolution. Bad idea, even for creationists.

More to follow.

Subj: Re: excuse me what do you mean?
Date: 05/13/2002 12:49:26 Pacific Daylight Time
From: DWise1
To: [address deleted to ensure privacy]
CC: DWise1

>> There isn't anything here that can disprove creation of the Bible. <<
"here"? Where is "here"? In my writings? I cannot see what else you could mean. And I cannot see what you are talking about.

Whoever said anything about "disprov[ing] creation of the Bible"? I sure haven't. Nor does science. What are you talking about?

That has NEVER been an issue in any of my writings on my web site, on discussion boards, nor in my emailings. It has never been my intention to disprove creation nor to attack or oppose belief in creation nor, to my knowledge, have I ever written otherwise.

If you disagree with what I have to say, then address WHAT I HAVE SAID! Please do NOT try to put words in my mouth; you have no idea where they've been but I do have a pretty good idea which is why I object so strongly! Your email indicates that you have an affinity for creation science. Despite that, I must insist that you be truthful, no matter how much that goes against creation science practices!

Therefore, I must insist: SHOW ME! Show me where I have tried to "disprove creation of the Bible"! Show me where I said anything about that being my intention.

>> Whether you want to believe it or not, predictions in the Bible were fulfilled years after they were told. <<

Why are you dragging that old thing in here? Neither my site nor my writings deal with that question. If you had actually read my writings you would know that I do not get involved in that issue. A local creationist routinely employs a bit of flim-flammery that he calls "rabbit trails" (and which he hypocritically denounces), in which he tries to draw his opponent off into a rhetorical quagmire. Are you trying to do the same thing here? No thank you.

Now, I have read a bit on the subject. Such an incredible claim would need to be proven and verified objectively. There would need to be a definite set of standards applied to such a test, stringent standards. I do not believe that such a test has been conducted. I have a list of those standards buried away somewhere. I could pass them on to you, though it would take me quite a while to find them again.

BTW, what would the consequences be if you were to find an unfulfilled prophecy? How have you been taught to react to such an event?

>> God's creation have certain abilities that couldn't possibly have happened by chance. <<

So who's claiming that it had "happened by chance"? Not evolution! If you actually understood anything about evolution then you would know that! Instead, you have been misled and deceived by a typical creation science strawman misrepresentation.

If you really want to fight evolution, then LEARN WHAT IT REALLY IS! Then fight evolution itself, not the strawman that creation science has deceived you into believing to be evolution.

>>You can shake us, but you can't throw us off, because, like it or not, there are still many ways to search and find the truth. <<

There most certainly are many paths! Though I am surprised to hear a Christian say that -- one slogan of the "Jesus Freak" movement (the drawing in of the hippies into fundamentalist Christianity circa 1970) was "One Way".

However, the reason why creationist claims are so persistent is explained in part by P.T. Barnum's "sucker born every minute." These claims have been refuted time and time again, yet they keep cropping up. For one thing, the creationist literature keeps publishing them. The bogus moondust claim that I describe [ http://cre-ev.dwise1.net/moondust.html ] was renounced by the ICR twelve years ago, yet if you walk into a Christian bookstore today and pick up the latest copy of H. Morris' "Scientific Creationism" you will find it still in there. Pick up just about any other of the ICR's books and you will find that bogus claim in their ubiquitous appendix "Uniformitarian Estimates of the Age of the Earth". Paul Ackerman based his entire chapter on that bogus claim (which he could have exposed himself if he had ever bothered to do actual research) and Kent Hovind uses Ackerman as a source for HIS own moondust claim (again, despite his boasting of how thoroughly he researches his claim, Hovind failed to do so).

A young creationist who is just starting out will see those same old claims that had been refuted long ago. What he will not see is the history of those claims, nor will he be told of why they are so false. If he becomes active in creation/evolution discussions, then he will probably one day encounter someone who does know that history and who will explain to him why those claims are false. He will try to deny the truth for a time; he might even be able to deceive himself enough to ignore the truth. Many cannot (a friend at church changed from a devout fundamentalist Christian to an atheist in large part because he finally could no longer keep up the self-deception that he had to practice all the time). Yet as you lose those whose faith self-destruct in the face of the truth, you continue to receive new waves of fresh new converts who read the same old creation science lies and swallow them hook, line, and sinker.

What a sad waste!

>>Please don't take our message harshly, we're trying to establish the greater good for all of mankind.<<
There's more than one of you? Or are you of royal blood?

Your motive may be good, but your tools are highly suspect.

Please explain how engaging in deception and rigging individuals' faith to self-destruct when faced with the truth is supposed to "establish the greater good for all of mankind".

Please read my quotes page at http://cre-ev.dwise1.net/quotes.html for some testimonies.

>> Unfortunaltly, it takes a little bit of faith to find the truth, but once you reach it, you can't be stirred by other claims. <<

Yes, once you have left the darkness and gone into the light, you cannot return to the darkness.

You experienced that when you became a Christian. If creation science succeeds in destroying your faith, then you will experience it again when you leave Christianity. Ed Babinski described it as "being born again again." D. Jon Scott described gazing at the world with renewed wonder after creation science had finally destroyed his faith (he is now very anti-Christian and after a short stint as an atheist has become a neo-Pagan practicing Red Magick as Corv¨n SŠpius [ [link broken] ]).

However, embracing creation science is the opposite of seeking the truth. Indeed, creation science booby-traps your faith to self-destruct should you start to learn the truth. Do yourself a big favor and defuse that booby-trap immediately. Creation science teaches that if its teachings (young-earth, etc) are wrong or evolution is right then Scripture has no meaning and you should throw religion into the trash (far too many creationists have insisted on that to me). Realize that all theologies are man-made, man-maintained, and man-taught (regardless of how divine their original basis may have been -- i.e., that theologies are man-made and fallible is no reflection at all upon any Divine Revelation). Realize that all theologies are therefore imperfect and fallible and have something wrong with them -- they can get most things right, but they are bound to screw up on some of the details. Realize that when you find that a theology has gotten something wrong, the solution is NOT to throw that religion away and become a hedonistic atheist, but rather the solution is to correct or replace that part of your theology (did I fail to mention that we all build our own theologies based on our own understanding and misunderstanding of the Divine?).

Yes, do seek the truth! But -- hey! -- you be careful out there.

More to follow.

Subj: Re: excuse me what do you mean?
Date: 05/13/2002 12:51:00 Pacific Daylight Time
From: DWise1
To: [address deleted to ensure privacy]
CC: DWise1


I'll admit that I have been tempted to characterize apologetics as dreaming up excuses, but I do realize that that is not what apologetics is about nor have I ever represented it as such. Again, I do not understand why you are dragging this in and dwelling on it so much. Hammering on it, considering how you SHOUTED the entire thing out. What are you talking about and why are you so hot and bothered over it in a cold emailing?

First, harmonization is an important process for a Christian to go through, especially harmonization between your personal theology and the real world. Creation science is a failure at that harmonization -- worse than a failure. When you try to harmonize between your personal theology and the real world, you must do so TRUTHFULLY and HONESTLY. Creation science does neither. It lies about what we find in the real world; it denies the existence of things and evidence that are there. It deceives you into believing that there is a conflict between science and religion. It deceives you into believing that science is engaged in some kind of anti-religion conspiracy. It sets your faith up to fail the moment you can no longer avoid the existence of hard facts that it has taught you do not exist and cannot exist if Scripture is to have any meaning. I have read too many testimonies of former creationists to whom that has happened!

Harmonize, yes! You must! But do it right!

A few other points:

  1. Again, what would the consequences be if you were to find contradictions? Have you been taught to abandon your faith in such an event? If so, then what is that teaching based on, God's Word or the teachings of Man?

  2. The Bible is a book (that's what its name, biblios, means). It is written in fallible human language and has gone through many fallible translations, each of which involves fallible human interpretation (I started out as a foreign language major, so I am familiar with the translation process). We have documented cases of Bibles being misprinted (eg, the infamous "Sinner's Bible" which commanded "Thou shalt commit adultery").

  3. A fundamentalist friend at work related the teaching that Scripture IS infallible, but ONLY IN ITS ORIGINAL FORM [caps for emphasis] (I have seen the same teaching published elsewhere). That Bible you hold in your hands, that human-produced book, is just a human-produced COPY of Scripture and as a copy produced by fallible agents it cannot be expected to be infallible. Ie, if that COPY is found to be in error or imperfect, then it is the fault of the copying process and NOT of the original Scripture.

  4. I have recently read the site of a devout Christian, George H. Birkett [ sadly, [link broken] ], called "Blending Faith with Reality". He writes of "The First Testament of God" [a few excerpts follow]:
    "I'm reading from a scripture revealed to me a couple years back, written by God in His own hand. It's all of God's creation and how His creation works and it teaches me more about God than any other source. It needed a name. I called it "The First Testament of God." I just read a new chapter. New for me. It was written long ago. It's titled: "Forever change." "

    "It is for us to discover, to ask questions that defy answers. My mind and your mind are just two of the infinite number of pages that compose The First Testament of God. There are billions of pages written in a language common to all and yet impossible for one human mind, impossible for the collective minds of all of time to absorb them all and it's still being written. The First Testament of God is all of God's creation and it is a work in progress."

    Regarding creation science, in trying to figure out why "scientific creationists" insist that we must choose between God and science, a position which he does not share:
    "Compare the scientific method to the first chapters of Genesis as an explanation for the existence of all things. Are these words a gathering and accumulation of evidence? Is there yet more to be gathered and accumulated? Does this (biblical) evidence have a behavior from which we can observe and thereby extrapolate truth? Are they irrefutable and consistent with new things we learn of our world and God's creation? Are "scientific creationists" willing to accept errors and new evidence that compels them to discard old ideas and theories for new knowledge and understanding?

    "There's the rub. Attempts to fit new evidence, new knowledge and understanding into these few scriptural passages entails re-writing the whole and only irrefutable words of God. We're in a bind. We 're forced to ignore "The First Testament of God." That, in my perception, means we must ignore our God gifted intellect. That is why we must choose between God and science."

    "The contest (creationism vs. evolution) demonstrates just how creationists cannot afford to reject old notions for new knowledge. Unlike the scientific method there is no provision for the failings of men. Such provision would imply a failing of God. And so, we must choose between God and science."

    "Yeah, there is one real big, big however. The more we learn the more we marvel at just how wondrous this creation thing is. There is so much to be learned and one of the things we have learned is that it is designed so that accidents WILL happen. Some accidents will work and others won't. Nothing is forever and all things will change and from what we can tell of this "accident" design change will be forever! Forever. It's so incredibly complex and yet in its way it's kind of simple. Now comes the biggest however, the biggest question: Who, What, designed creation to evolve? All the accumulated minds of science in all of accumulated time will NEVER be able to answer that question.

    "Now comes another reason for the dispute. Creationists know. . ., they will deny it but somewhere in their gut they know, that they have invested their faith and beliefs more in a finite book and less in an infinite creator God. They know their faith is built on a weak foundation and they are desperate to shore it up. It has to do with a mix mash of complex and often irrational man-made theologies.

    "So here, I suggest to those who espouse the six day creation theory that theologies were made by men and creation is the design of God.

    "One last reason for the dispute. The nasty one. "I'm right and you're wrong, even if I'm wrong." That is what their heart is saying in the midst of all their arguments. I hear them saying "I'm a true believer and you are not." Yeah, it's a "me is better than thee" kind of ego thing."

    One of the things that George H. Birkett states is that creation science leaders have come right out at and stated that they have turned the Bible into God:
    "I think I do know what all this fuss is about. Dr. Morris describes creation scientists as bible believers. That's it. You gotta believe that the bible is God's divine word. It's the literal truth, the absolute truth, the whole truth, the only truth. It is God's truth. If you don't believe that there's just no way you can believe in God. I got a problem though. I hear them saying things they don't think they're saying -- but I hear them plenty clear. Count on it, they're going to deny it but I hear them saying . . .
    "The bible IS God;
    except for the bible God wouldn't exist;
    the bible is the only way we have of knowing God.
    "The first and third I've heard word for word: verbatim. The middle one, they say the bible wouldn't exist except for God. Lordy! WE wouldn't exist except for God. Bottom line: they believe in God less and the bible more. Yep! That's what I hear them saying."
With all due respect, isn't worshipping the Bible as God a form of idolatry? I believe that there is still a Commandment against that on the books.

Sorry for the quoting, but in my years of experience I have found that creationists rarely follow a link but would much rather bury their heads in the sand. You may arrogantly dismiss all that I have tried to tell you, but George Birkett is a Christian describing some of what he has learned about God and you do need to consider what he has to say.

More to follow.

Subj: Re: excuse me what do you mean?
Date: 05/13/2002 12:54:00 Pacific Daylight Time
From: DWise1
To: [address deleted to ensure privacy]
CC: DWise1

>>BUT go on, fall for every lie in the book if you want. Be decieved, if you won't listen to the truth. <<

Isn't it ironic? That is what I would tell followers of creation science.

Seek the truth. Ask questions. Question the answers. And always remember that in doing so you are not questioning God, but rather you are questioning Man's imperfect understanding of God, your OWN imperfect understanding of God.

To question is the answer.

It is now your turn to respond. Please do so. But this time try to raise more specific questions, to respond to what I HAVE written, and tell me what you are referring to. That should keep down the amount of writing that I have to do in response.

Also, rather than make assumptions about what I believe or what my motivation is, ask me.

Subj: Re: excuse me what do you mean?
Date: 06/08/2002 13:39:15 Pacific Daylight Time
From: DWise1
To: [address deleted to ensure privacy]
CC: DWise1

[name deleted to ensure privacy]:

You had emailed me on 04 May obviously upset about something that you think I had written concerning creation/evolution. What was it? You didn't say. Quite frankly, I could not tell where most of your diatribe had come from. Especially the question of biblical contradictions, which you seemed especially hot-and-bothered about.

I replied to your email on 13 May. Basically, I asked you what you were talking about and to which of my writings you believed that you were replying. I also corrected all the the misconceptions that you had expressed and gave you a few things to think about. Things which did elicit a response.

Since nearly four weeks have passed without a response from you, I can only assume that you were engaging in typical creationist hit-and-run tactics. Therefore, I am sending this follow-up message.

You had concluded your email with: "Be decieved, if you won't listen to the truth."
Rather, from my study and observations of creation science, I believe that it is you who are being deceived and will not listen to the truth. The very foundation of creation science, its "Two Model Approach", is built upon deception and its followers routinely practice deception, making false claims just because they sound convincing -- to them at least, and to those who don't know any better.

I gave you a number of things to think about, that you do need to think about. I can understand why they would frighten you, since creation science has taught you that your faith would be destroyed. But that is just yet another of creation science's deceptions. Creation science will succeed in holding your faith hostage only if you let it.

[name deleted to ensure privacy], we do need to discuss this. Of course, if you won't listen to the truth, then you will continue to be deceived.

Subj:Re:excuse me what do you mean?
Date:6/22/2002 10:21:30 Pacific Daylight Time
To:[address deleted to ensure privacy]

[name deleted to ensure privacy], to remind you again of the context:

You had emailed me on 04 May with the subject: "excuse me what do you mean?". You were obviously upset about something that you think I had written concerning creation/evolution, but did not say what it was.

I replied on 13 May with corrections to the misconceptions that you had expressed and questions necessary to determine what had upset you so much. I specifically requested a response.

I never received one, so on 08 June I sent a follow-up email. Still no response.

Obviously, you are one of those "hit-and-run" creationists who posts a single angry message which basically says "go to hell!" (which was what your email had said to me) and then ignores the responses, probably giggling to yourself about all the trouble you stirred up. In that case, I can feel nothing but pity for you.

Please do not continue down that path. The reputations of evangelical Christians in general and creationists in particular have been badly tarnished by such shenanigans. Christianity does not need for you to drag it down even lower just so you can get your jollies.

From my own fundamentalist Christian training, I know that what you are doing is wrong. Furthermore, you are doing wrong in the name of Christ, which goes against Christian doctrine. If you continue down the path you are on, then you will undoubtedly feel justified to do even worse things in the name of Christ -- believe me, I have seen many other creationists doing utterly despicable, un-Christian things in the name of Christ. According to Christian teachings, by their own actions, they demonstrate that they are not saved. Do you really wish to join them?

Do not open a discussion without being willing to engage in that discussion. Do not speak out in anger unless you wish to receive an angry response. Do not treat others with contempt unless you wish them to treat you with comtempt as well. Flame not, lest ye also be flamed.

And above all, remember that when you identify yourself as a Christian and as a creationist, that you and your actions then represent Christianity and creationism. Others will judge Christianity and creationism based in part on what you say and do. Therefore, you must always ask yourself whether what you are about to say or do will be to the benefit of the Body of Christ or to its detriment.

If there is something that you need to discuss regarding creation science, I am always available and willing, though with my busy work schedule I cannot guarantee rapid response.

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First uploaded on 2006 March 10.
Last updated on 2017 April 21.