Can Evolution Explain Altruism?

It’s my hobby to interact with people and talk about my Savior, Jesus. He’s the Creator (Col 1:16) and the promised Messiah (Gen 3:15.) Despite my multitude of sins and those of all repentant sinners (John 3:16), He demonstrated his great love (Rom 4:8) by taking on the full wrath of the Father to atone for wickedness (Rom 3:25)

Inevitably in some of those conversations, skeptics bring up evolution as a reason not to repent. The conversation sometimes includes this phrase:

There’s no need for your sky daddy. Evolution explains everything without him

I’m with Greg Bahnsen when he says that evolution can’t explain ANYTHING. But one of the questions I’ve asked God-deniers about evolution’s explanatory power is “How is altruism consistent with evolutionism? How does evolution explain altruistic behavior?”

NOTE: As a blog that uses the presuppositional method to honor God’s revelation and expose the irrational nature of all philosophies that attempt to derive knowledge, logic, morality or anything else without God, you may wonder why I’m asking this evidential question. What follows will be the application of Proverbs 26:5. I will enter into the worldview of the God-denier to show that his OWN explanations are full of unjustified assertions and catastrophic contradictions

This is apparently a question that triggers God-deniers, because when I post that question on social media, there are all kinds of caustic and derogatory remarks about my lack of intelligence, my lack of education, and their desire that I be quiet. Once in a while a skeptic will try to answer. Here’s a recent answer I got to the question “Why do evolutionists think think altruism is beneficial (in this case public education)”

Alturism (sp) can improve the survival rate of the herd making it easier for individuals to thrive. Education improves the herd so ensuring a well educated public can improve individual life

What is Altruism?

Wikipedia defines altruism as “Altruism is the principle and moral practice of concern for happiness of other human beings or animals, resulting in a quality of life both material and spiritual.”

Merriam-Webster tells us that altruism is “behavior by an animal that is not beneficial to or may be harmful to itself but that benefits others of its species”

I will reference these definitions later in the post, so prepare to be pointed back here for a reminder of these foundational definitions. We all recognize altruism in humans when people are selfless. Altruism is on display when a person gives money to the homeless and when a person helps at the scene of an accident and when a person helps build houses on a mission trip. In those interactions, there is no benefit and may even be sacrificial on the part of the giver. Sometimes, altruism is seen in ant and bee colonies.

What is evolution?

In 1859 Charles Darwin released one of the most influential books of all time, The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection for the Preservation of the Favored Races. In it, he lays out a case for a mechanism known as natural selection, which he says

Natural Selection is the principle by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved

Darwin reveals his biological theory that attempts to explain the origin of the great diversity of life. This theory requires that uncountable sequential individual heritable changes be preserved by natural selection for evolution to have veracity. He said

If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.

For evolution to have explanatory power, there must be uncountable sequential individual heritable changes that are preserved solely by natural selection. Now Darwin had no idea about DNA or the unimaginable complexity of genetic code that is stored on DNA, but scientists after Darwin discovered the code of DNA which serves as the source of inheritance, the mutation of which supposedly provides for novel traits.

Let’s analyze what is currently being taught as evolution before we go forward. From OpenStax college textbook Biology 2e p. 24

The source of this diversity (tremendous diversity of life on earth) is evolution, the process of gradual change during which new species arise from older species. A Phylogenetic tree can summarize the evolution of various life forms on Earth. It is a diagram showing the evolutionary relationships among biological species based on similarities and differences in genetic or physical traits or both.

Same book, p492

Evolution by natural selection describes a mechanism for how species change over time…Natural Selection, or “survival of the fittest” is the more prolific reproduction of individuals with favorable traits that survive environmental change because of those traits. This leads to evolutionary change…More offspring are produced than are able to survive, so resources for survival and reproduction are limited. The capacity for reproduction in all organisms outstrips the availability of resources to support their numbers. Thus, there is competition for those resources in each generation.

From RationalWiki

All species on Earth originated by the mechanism of evolution, through descent from common ancestors.

To summarize their claims on what evolution is:

  1. Evolution is unguided
  2. Evolution can be verified by showing the gradual process of uncountable sequential individual heritable changes
  3. The mechanisms of evolution are natural selection acting on random mutations
  4. Genetics determines traits, behaviors, and reproduction
  5. Organisms that are the most fit (greatest fitness) in their environment persist to pass their genes to subsequent generations
  6. Fitness is “individual reproductive success and is equal to the average contribution to the gene pool of the next generation that is made by individuals of the specified genotype or phenotype”
  7. Evolution’s sole driver is to reproduce genetic material in the competition for limited resources.

What is Evolutionism?

Evolutionism is the belief that evolution is the only explanation for all of biology. Those who practice evolutionism are ruthless in protecting this belief. Practitioners expel, malign, and/or punish anyone who dissents from the common evolutionism narrative.

According to those practicing evolutionism, the theory of evolution cannot, must not, and will not be criticized. Efforts to offer any anything other than complete obeisance to the theory are met with swift and unmerciful retribution in an effort to silence critical thinking. In practice, it strongly resembles religious fervor in protection of the dogma. This is generally what happens when someone makes a social media comment that even hints there might be problems with evolution’s ability to explain all of biology

What do Scientists Say About Altruism?

So, scientists have recognized that it is counter-intuitive to assume that altruism fits within the evolutionary explanations, and I’m sure you can see that from the definitions of evolution from above, there is a large plausibility barrier to overcome. In the recent social media encounter that I mentioned above, one of the God-deniers said:

The scientific research would beg to differ. The evolutionary origins of human altruism explained: https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0,5&qsp=3&q=evolutionary+origins+human+altruism&qst=ir…

And if you’re not reading science to change your mind, then what are you doing?

Essentially, he told me that science DOES have answers, and I’m ignorant of those answers because I’ve never read them. But I’m an intrepid ApoloJedi and will analyze the writings of scientists who promote evolutionism to see if they can demonstrate altruism to be sufficiently explained by the mechanisms of evolution. I will analyze three sources from the modern academic paradigm (which some will conflate with “science”):

  1. Human Altruism – Proximate Patterns and Evolutionary Origins by Fehr/Fischbacher 2005
  2. Selfish Gene – Richard Dawkins
  3. OpenStax Biology 2e 2018 Rice University

Fehr/Fischbacher

The first link in the search result from the post above yields a paper written by Ernst Fehr and Urs Fischbacher for degruyter.com. The paper was written in 2005 and has been cited 82 times.

From page 6

Current gene-based evolutionary theories cannot explain important patterns of human altruism pointing towards the need for theories of cultural evolution and gene-culture coevolution

They clearly recognize the counter-intuitive nature of the claim that evolution can sufficiently account for altruism. The implication is that a NEW theory/mechanism is needed. They call their new mechanism “strong reciprocity”. They define Strong Reciprocity as

Strong reciprocity is a combination of altruistic rewarding—a readiness to reward others in response to fair outcomes or behaviour—and altruistic punishment—a willingness to sanction others for norm violations

Reward? If there is a reward, it’s not altruism. Right from the beginning, they change the definition of altruism from something that is unselfish to appeal to the inherent selfishness. “Fair outcomes”???? Now they have to explain how evolution produced justice so that fair outcomes can be measured. Rather than explaining away the questions, they are multiplying their explanatory deficits. They spend the next 20 pages showing data and charts about how there are social rewards for reciprocity and punishment for selfishness for humans. It’s hardly groundbreaking to show data that when people are nice to others, the others are generally nice back or when someone is ungrateful for altruism, that’s the last time they get free generosity. And it’s definitely not in accord with Merrian-Webster’s definition of altruism from above. The point is that they are not demonstrating that evolution explains altruism. They are NOT demonstrating a gradual process with innumerable slight successive modifications in heritable traits are pushing some mysterious proto-altruistic behavior into fully-developed altruism. Some have done the altruistic test on monkeys showing strong reciprocity, but (as I have been reliably reminded over and over by evolutionists) humans did not evolve from monkeys. At best, these experiments can ONLY assert another rescue device (convergent evolution) proposed by evolutionists to protect their theory from refutation. These experiments do NOT demonstrate the evolution of human altruism.

On page 30, in their section titled “Evolutionary Origins” they introduce the term “Reciprocal altruism” (RA) as a mechanism for producing altruism in evolutionism. But they never get around to explaining how RA gets included into the genetic code. If it is not included in the genetic code, which is the mechanism for heredity, is RA explainable by evolution? RA is described throughout the next 5 pages as being a learned behavior, so unless they are proposing classic Lamarckism, RA can be ignored. In addition to it not being passed on through heredity, it is another way they are redefining altruism. Altruism is selfless, but RA requires reciprocity (if you do something nice, the expectation is that the gifted person reciprocates with something nice), so it is NOT altruism!!!!! Again on Page 30

This does not mean that there may have been considerable obstacles in leaving a relationship; yet, unless the available outside options and individuals’ decisions to stay in or to leave a relationship are modelled explicitly, it is impossible to study their impact on the evolution of altruistic behaviour.

Impossible indeed!

Thus, repeated interactions plus the existence of strategies which condition cooperative behaviour on past outcomes (i.e., reciprocal altruism) are unlikely to be an evolutionary explanation for human cooperation in larger groups

Unlikely and Impossible

In the concluding paragraph of their paper, which they title “Open Problems” they say:

There is experimental evidence indicating that repeated interactions, reputation-formation, and strong reciprocity are powerful determinants of human behaviour

I agree with this, but as has been shown, this is NOT evolution. These are post hoc attempts to describe observations to protect a theory from refutation

Although recent evidence (Henrich et al. 2001) suggests that market integration and the potential gains from cooperation are important factors, our knowledge is still extremely limited

much more evidence on how these affect altruistic rewarding and punishment is necessary

At the ultimate level, the evolution and role of altruistic rewarding for cooperation in larger groups remain in the dark

At the level of proximate theories of human motivation, we still lack parsimonious and tractable formal models of reciprocal fairness, which make precise, testable, predictions

to enhance the study of the evolution of altruism, there is a great need for sharp, empirically testable predictions that are rigorously derived from the evolutionary models

Their conclusion admits they cannot even test the evolutionary mechanism in the present, so how can they extrapolate their theories dozens, hundreds, thousands, or millions of years into the past?!?!?? As they said, “the evolution of altruistic rewarding remains in the dark”

Richard Dawkins

In 1976 Biologist Richard Dawkins attempted to explain altruism in his book, The Selfish Gene. Here are some quotes from his book:

My purpose is to examine the biology of selfishness and altruism.

We are survival machines – robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes

Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish. Let us understand what our own selfish genes are up to, because we may then at least have the chance to upset their designs, something that no other species has ever aspired to do.

Any altruistic system is inherently unstable, because it is open to abuse by selfish individuals, ready to exploit it.

We can even discuss ways of deliberately cultivating and nurturing pure, disinterested altruism—something that has no place in nature, something that has never existed before in the whole history of the world. We are built as gene machines and cultured as meme machines, but we have the power to turn against our creators. We, alone on earth, can rebel against the tyranny of the selfish replicators.

Be warned that if you wish, as I do, to build a society in which individuals cooperate generously and unselfishly towards a common good, you can expect little help from biological nature.

If there is a human moral to be drawn, it is that we must teach our children altruism, for we cannot expect it to be part of their biological nature.

In the world of the extended phenotype, ask not how an animal’s behaviour benefits its genes; ask instead whose genes it is benefiting.

The genes are not destroyed by crossing-over, they merely change partners and march on. Of course they march on. That is their business. They are the replicators and we are their survival machines. When we have served our purpose we are cast aside. But genes are denizens of geological time: genes are forever.

There exists no objective basis on which to elevate one species above another.

As you can see, Dawkins is unable to sufficiently demonstrate that evolutionary mechanisms can sufficiently account for altruism. Dawkins is deficient at the same points of Fehr/Fischbacher – he is forced to redefine altruism as beneficial to the giver OR prescribe that altruism be TAUGHT since genes are naturally selfish (Learned). At the pinnacle of the book when Dawkins should reveal how evolution explains altruism, he instead tells us that society is the inheritance mechanism for altruistic behavior rather than evolution (“we must teach our children altruism, for we cannot expect it to be part of their biological nature”). This scientist, who some might say knows more about evolution and biology than any man alive and whose book was meant to explain how biology produced altruism, ultimately claims that the heritable mechanism for altruism is NOT evolution but society!!!!

Is there room for critical rebuttal of Dawkin’s claims? Stephen J. Gould had this to say about the ability of Dawkin’s theory to account for altruism:

the fatal flaw (in Dawkins’ selfish gene theory) was that “no matter how much power Dawkins wishes to assign to genes, there is one thing that he cannot give them – direct visibility to natural selection.

With no direct visibility to natural selection, how can genes direct phenotypes to preserve themselves via altruism? Dawkins never explained; he just assumed and crafted another post hoc theory in an failed attempt refutation. Dawkin’s attempt to explain altruism via evolution is shown to be a failure as well

OpenStax Rice University

On page 1444, the authors of Rice University’s Biology 2e textbook address altruism…or rather, they fail to address it in the subchapter titled “Altruistic Behavior”

There has been much discussion over why altruistic behaviors exist. Do these behaviors lead to overall evolutionary advantages for their species? Do they help the altruistic individual pass on its own genes? In the 1976 book, The Selfish Gene, scientist Richard Dawkins attempted to explain many seemingly altruistic behaviors…Selfish gene theory has been controversial over the years and is still discussed among scientists in related fields…The lowering of individual fitness to enhance the reproductive fitness of a relative and this one’s inclusive fitness evolves through kin selection. However, these behaviors may not be truly defined as altruism in these cases because the actor is actually increasing his own fitness either directly or indirectly.

Unrelated individuals may also act altruistically to each other, and this seems to defy the selfish gene explanation. An example of this observed in many monkey species where a monkey will present its back to an unrelated monkey to have that individual pick the parasites from its fur. After a certain amount of time, the roles are reversed and the first monkey now grooms the second monkey. Thus, there is reciprocity in the behavior…This behavior (Reciprocity Altruism) is not necessarily altruism.

Evolutionary game theory, a modification of classical game theory in mathematics, has shown that many of these so-called “altruistic behaviors” are not altruistic at all. The definition of pure altruism, based on human behavior, is an action that benefits another without any direct benefit to one’s self. Most of the behaviors described above do not seem to satisfy this definition.

You can see from their explanations that there is no mechanism for generating altruistic behavior, and as this section gets deeper into the deficit of actual explanations, even the concept of altruism is wiped away as if it never really exists (from above – “Most of the behaviors described above do not seem to satisfy this definition (altruism)”.) We see altruistic behavior in humans. We’ve all done it ourselves. We know it exists, but it’s mechanism, purpose, and history are all BLIND to science. In their first paragraph they invoke a sciency-sounding phrase, kin selection, as if merely naming an observation actually explains it. Kin selection like convergent evolution like strong reciprocity are terms that hide the explanation under the guise of science. People hear “kin selection” and assume, “well, it’s got a fancy name, so someone must have demonstrated that evolution is the only explanation for it.”

Although I have been unreliably told that evolution can account for altruistic behavior, the writings of science publications are devoid of sufficient explanations for it. Notice the concluding sentences of this section:

What is clear, though, is that heritable behaviors that improve the chances or passing on one’s genes or a portion of one’s genes are favored by natural selection and will be retained in future generations as long as those behaviors convey a fitness advantage.

Essentially, they are saying “despite a lack of evidence of altruism at all or a mechanism for developing proto-altruism to fully functional altruism, it’s true. Just believe that evolution has the power to do it! We KNOW it because natural selection ALWAYS conveys a fitness advantage…even if we can’t demonstrate it. Trust us, we’re scientists!”

Well, trust has to be earned and after reviewing the best that evolutionism has to offer for explaining the natural forces of survival-of-the-fittest producing behaviors that lower fitness, their writings are woefully deficient of demonstrations.

Can Evolution Account For Altruism?

No. Those who believe in evolution recognize that altruism exists, and in an effort to create post hoc theories for its existence, they must either redefine altruism, revive classic Lamarckism, disregard their own definitions of what evolution means or some chimera Frankenstein fantasy combination of all three distractions.

Many of you know that this is a blog dedicated to the truth of God’s eternal revelation. As a recovering evidentialist and aspiring presuppositionalist, it is my intent to always revere Christ Jesus as the authority in all matters and not put the God-denier in the judge’s seat as if he/she can correctly judge evidence in accordance with a perfect perception of reality. Only God has a perfect perception of all of reality, but God, who is the source of all knowledge, has revealed some of his knowledge so that we can know those things with certainty (Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge). So, without humble submission to the Eternal Monarch, justified true beliefs are not possible for the God-denier. This article could have been very short: Does a mechanism which purportedly replaces God (evolution) sufficiently account for behaviors that God commands (altruism)? No – evolution cannot account for altruism. So, evolutionists are wrong about altruism being consistent with evolution not only because of the Christian worldview…

  1. God’s Revelation in creation and scripture are true
  2. Evolutionism is discordant with God’s Revelation

…but evolutionists are ALSO wrong about altruism because of the inherent contradictions contained within their own worldview

  1. Altruism is selfless
  2. Evolutionary biologists propose that genes are selfish
  3. Genes are unchanged by learned behaviors
  4. Altruism is a learned behavior
  5. Natural selection is survival of the fittest
  6. Altruism is artificial intrusion that prevents the least fit from succumbing to natural selection

This article entered into the worldview of the God-denier and using their own assumptions, their own research, and their own conclusions to show that they cannot account for altruistic behaviors as a result of evolutionary processes. To be clear, they cannot account for ANYTHING without humble submission to the LORD of glory, who is worthy of all praise

Follow-up Interview

I was invited to be a guest on the Beyond the Basics podcast to discuss my book review of Hugh Ross’s A Matter of Days. If you haven’t yet read the review, I encourage you to do so.

As you will see the most important issue of the internal debate among Christians about the “age of the earth” is Authority. Old earthers choose to elevate the modern academic paradigm over scripture, so they are willing to redefine the words, phrases, and ideas revealed in scripture to accommodate what modern academics think about observations. However biblical creationists elevate God’s revelation in scripture as the ultimate authority, and we interpret observations based on what God revealed in his word.

One of the things I wanted to do in the interview but forgot is to mention the importance of framing the debate. Too often the debate of the age of the earth is portrayed as science vs. religion. This is NOT the case. It is interpretations of observations vs. God’s revealed Word. So, as Christians when talking about this topic, be sure that the words we use are clear to the topic. It is the Modern Academic Paradigm vs. God’s Revelation

Enjoy the interview linked below. Hint: Watch the video on 1.5X speed and then my pauses do not sound so bad 🙂

Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 23

Tranquility through Testing

To finish his book Dr. Ross proposes a way that he thinks will bring resolution to the choice between the “creation-day controversy”. Whether you’ve been following the chapter reviews up to this point or not, you might be able to guess what Dr. Ross proposes as the solution:

Interpretations of Evidence!

Those who have been following along know that he would NOT choose the highest authority – God’s Word.

Given that various creation perspectives are readily testable, a pathway exists for peaceful resolution of creation-day controversies. With so much scientific data  and many different biblical creation accounts open for investigation, little basis remains for conflicts or disputes over creation doctrines.

Ross seems deaf to the effects of interpretations when discussing evidence, and I want to return to the last chapter’s review. Ross claimed that he won a debate with biblical astronomer, Danny Faulker because when both he and Ross presented their evidence to the panel of 13 old earthers, the old earthers determined that Ross was correct. I wonder what would happen if Dr. Ross presented his evidence for special creation of each kind of creature over periods of time to a panel of Christians from BioLogos against the evidence presented from a Biologos evolutionist. Is there any doubt that this panel would expel Ross for his heresy against biological evolution? Interpretations of evidence are used to confirm one’s worldview biases and Ross does not recognize the inherent bias that old earthism has had on him since he was very young. Dr. Jason Lisle has tried valiantly to point out the role that biases have played in Dr. Ross’s eisegesis of scripture, but those habits have been ingrained deeply in Ross’s thinking and business model.

Below is the chart that Dr. Ross includes in his book as a way to resolve the “Creation-day controversy”. He explains that if both the young and old earth predictions get analyzed as more data is discovered and interpreted, that the old earth model will win out. From the biblical creationist perspective, the data from the expected predictions have lined up perfectly to confirm the young earth model. So, while I recognize my young earth bias, I want to point out how since Dr. Ross has written his book, the predictions he makes about the big bang completely unravel

Evidences for the big bang will increase and become more compelling. Astronomers will establish the big bang model as the uniquely explanation for the origin and structure of the universe.

Over the last few years, evidence for the big bang has NOT increased or become more compelling. It has been in massive need of resuscitation and repair

The other areas of the chart have not fared well for old earthism either

If you’ve learned anything from the review, I hope it is that God’s Word is the authority for the life of the Christian. There’s no need to compromise with the hollow and deceptive philosophies of the world as a way to interpret scripture.

As biblical creationists, we can praise God for the consistent nature of his revelation. We do not have to redefine the words in the Bible to accommodate modern academic paradigms or cultural changes in sexuality or political revolutions as we have seen Dr. Ross do. God’s Word is eternal and we can trust God to keep his word regarding the future since we can trust his revelation from the past.

Back to the Table of Contents

Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 22

Councils Attempt to Bring Calm

Throughout Christian history, there have been ideas and theories which the church has to address as unorthodox. Dr. Ross addresses a few of them in the first few pages of chapter 22.

Circumcision. The first century church had to deal with the sign of the old covenant with regards to the gentile Christians. Should gentile Christians be forced to observe the sign of the old covenant? To help answer this question, the Council at Jerusalem convened to make sure there was a resolution that honored the Lord. Later Paul addresses this in his epistles to the churches. The conclusion – “Therefore, the promise comes by faith so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring – not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham.”

Dr. Ross feels that the issue of the age of the earth is synonymous with the issue of circumcision:

The first-century church dealt with a problem roughly analogous to the dispute over the length of the Genesis creation days

While we can agree that Christians do have disagreement over the issue of the length of the creation days, this disagreement is not an issue of salvation. It is an issue of biblical interpretation and as has already been shown Dr. Ross has elevated the modern academic paradigm (which he calls the book of nature) as authoritative over the revealed and eternal word of God. Dr. Ross has exhibited the characteristics of a Christian, so I have no reason to doubt his regeneration. But his teaching regarding death, suffering, thorns, corruption, destruction being part of God’s “very good” creation because of his adherence to the Modern Academic Paradigm is harmful to biblical interpretation in this and future generations. 

Dr. Ross next gives a short recap of the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy (ICBI) of 1982 as they discussed the creation-day controversy. They listened to presentations from a biblical creationist and an old earther. When it was complete, the ICBI presented a statement that included the following affirmations

  • We affirm that any preunderstandings which the interpreter brings to Scripture should be in harmony with scriptural teaching and subject to correction by it.
  • We deny that Scripture should be required to fit alien preunderstandings, inconsistent with itself, such as naturalism, evolutionism, scientism, secular humanism, and relativism.
  • We affirm that since God is the author of all truth, all truths, biblical and extra biblical, are consistent and coherent, and that the Bible speaks truth when it touches on matters pertaining to nature, history, or anything else. We further affirm that in some cases extra biblical data have value for clarifying what Scripture teaches, and for prompting correction of faulty interpretations.
  • We deny that extra biblical views ever disprove the teaching of Scripture or hold priority over it.
  • We affirm the harmony of special with general revelation and therefore biblical teaching with the facts of nature.
  • We deny that any genuine scientific facts are inconsistent with the true meaning of any passage of Scripture. We affirm that Genesis 1-11 is factual, as is the rest of the book. We deny that the teachings of Genesis 1-11 are mythical and that scientific hypotheses about earth history or the origin of human it may be invoked to overthrow what Scripture teaches about creation.

The statement from the ICBI has some merit and is generally acceptable. But as shown in the italics above, there are at least 2 phrases that could be misconstrued to accommodate any number of outside authorities over scripture.

The first “We further affirm that in some cases extra biblical data have value for clarifying what Scripture teaches, and for prompting correction of faulty interpretations.

What cases? Who gets to determine which cases are acceptable? Which interpretations of the extra biblical data?

You can see how there is a massive gap left for those who would like to bring their interpretation into biblical orthodoxy, and since old earthism has until the most recent of times not been included in orthodox thinking, Dr. Ross would very much like for his naturalistic interpretations to be included in orthodox teachings of Christianity. For today’s generation that has been saturated with the naturalistic assumption of billions of years, they might think the church has thought this since the beginning, but it is a very recent addition to modern thinking. Until Hugh Ross wrote his books, virtually all of the church most certainly did not think the universe was billions of years old. As confirmation, the Hebrew year from the date of creation is 5780. So, those who wrote the original text of scripture are in agreement with the biblical creation model that the world is about 6000 old.

The second, “the facts of nature” is a phrase that I have covered throughout this review that is based on a false assumption. It leaves open the question – What is a fact outside of interpretation? Whose interpretation of the “fact” is considered the right one?

Dr. Ross finishes this chapter with the claim that his debate in 2009 with biblical astronomer, Danny Faulker was a win for old earthism. He claimed that 13 astronomers (who are all confirmed old earthers) agreed that the earth is old. It would be the same as if an Armenian and a Calvinist had a debate on which view of soteriology is correct. If the judging panel was 13 Calvinists, they would all determine that the winner was the Calvinist. If the same debate were to have been done in front of 13 biblical creation astronomers, Hugh Ross’s views would have been demonstrated to be impotent in just the same way.

As biblical creationists, we can praise God for the consistent nature of his revelation. We do not have to redefine the words in the Bible to accommodate modern academic paradigms or cultural changes in sexuality or political revolutions as we have seen Dr. Ross do. God’s Word is eternal and we can trust God to keep his word regarding the future since we can trust his revelation from the past.

Back to the Table of Contents

Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 21

Day_UsedOnBlog20200731

A Clear “Day” Interpretation

Dr. Ross sent me his book almost a year ago and I finished reading it and annotating it within a few months. So, as I have gone back and read through the chapter again for the book review, I am not really finding anything new. From beginning to end, I have found that Dr. Ross although he claims that the Bible is his highest authority, he sees the modern academic paradigm as the highest interpretive authority and conforms his reading of the Bible to accommodate it. 

In his personal testimony, we see evidence of this

I did not converse with a Christian about spiritual matters until I was 27. Studies in science consumed all my time and eventually convinced me, at age 15 that a transcendent God must exist. At the time, I doubted that a God who created a hundred billion trillion stars would care much about frail humans on an insignificant planet…In my first reading of Genesis 1, I saw indications that the creation days were long periods of time

If you teach people that the universe is billions of years old, by the time they are almost 30 years old (as Ross admits that he was) and have been indoctrinated by this mantra, they will try to fit everything they see into that worldview…including the Bible. 

These are the parts of the text that Dr. Ross felt there was plasticity which would allow him to redefine the scriptures to accommodate the modern academic paradigm

The timing of Eve’s creation

He does not explain specifically here why he thinks this allows for creation days to be very long periods, but we can infer from a paragraph on the previous page why he thinks this is plausible. “Eve was created on the same day as Adam (the sixth) but not until after Adam took care of several large tasks.

This sounds like the easily refuted argument that he used from chapter 7, when he claimed that Adam had four careers so the text could not possibly have been talking about a single day. His personal incredulity and injection of outside influence completely discounts Ross’s wild claim

The lack of an evening and morning for the seventh day

Clearly, Dr. Ross sees the importance of the evening/morning pattern when God revealed his creative works for 85% of the creation week. What’s not clear is why Dr. Ross takes the single example of missing morning/evening pattern and creates a rule for it. Dr. Ross’s shallow reading of the text ignores the deeper context and exegesis of Exodus 20 when the days are clearly defined with unmistakable 24 hour boundaries.

The Genesis 2:4 usage of the word “day” in reference to the entire creation week

So, at best, Ross can only say that the Hebrew word for day (yom) can have the colloquial understanding of a week of time…not the billions and billions and billions of years necessary to accommodate the modern academic paradigm. Biblical creationists agree that there is flexibility in the Hebrew word ‘yom’, but exegetically, it must fit the context, and in the context of Genesis 1, we can easily conclude from the text that it is signifying days as we know them today (24 hours).

I was especially intrigued by God’s creation hiatus following the six prolific creation periods.

We should all be intrigued by God’s creation hiatus, but it would be wildly bizarre to assume there were suddenly billions of years injected into the text from that thought

Finally, here was an explanation for the fossil record enigma

There are three things to keep in mind when interpreting scripture: context, context and context. When we view the scripture in context there was unquestionably a global flood that adequately (and more correctly) explains the fossil record…so the enigma is for the old earthist, who must redefine a world-consuming flood to mean a minor middle eastern rain storm and then create epicycles to explain both the text and modern observations

Dr. Ross continues at the bottom of pg242 and top of pg243 with the strange explanation for what it means to love the LORD with all of your mind

Loving God with “all your mind” means looking beyond the most simplistic interpretation of a given text, especially if that interpretation leads to complications and convolutions of other texts…Yet, ironically, a 24-hour creation day interpretation of Genesis 1 (and 2) complicates and convolutes at least aspects of God’s creation story – the sequence of events, the meaning of Adam’s work and words, and the speed of biological development.

Speaking of irony-> Just above Dr. Ross admitted that after almost 30 years of indoctrination in the modern academic paradigm, on his 1st reading of Genesis, his simplistic interpretation was that God created over billions of years…just as he’d been taught his whole life. So, clearly he’s only against OTHER people’s simplistic interpretation of Genesis 1. 

Regarding his claim that the biblical creationist’s interpretation of Genesis 1 complicates and convolutes the aspects of the creation story, Dr. Ross AGAIN upholds the modern academic paradigm and demands that the Bible’s reading be conformed to those assumptions. 

And as was shown in Chapter 4 and chapter 5 reviews when Dr. Ross attempted to claim that ALL of church history believed in old earthism, he was WRONG. Old earthism is a modern concoction that attempts to dissolve the modern academic paradigm into biblical interpretation, but as we see, they are like oil and water with no ability to mix.

On p244 Ross asks the question 

How Did Adam Do So Much?…Similarly, for Adam to have named all of Eden’s animals within a few hours would seem to shrink not just the size but also the bounty of Eden…species

While I already covered Ross’s misunderstanding of scripture in my review of chapter 7, it doesn’t hurt to quickly address his repeated conflation of species and kinds. Kinds ≠ Species. The biblical kind is defined in Genesis 1 simply denoted a creature’s ability to reproduce at the time of creation. Since there have been many mutations, many creatures that were formerly able to reproduce lost the ability to reproduce. This does not mean they were not originally created as the same kind. But what this means is that Kind is more synonymous with the modern scientific distinction of family

This means that Adam did not have to name millions of species as is claimed by Ross. Adam could have take care of his divinely-appointed job of naming the animals much more quickly by naming animals in groups

At the bottom of p244 Dr. Ross says

Young-earth creationists see as the futility of attempting to integrate Genesis with the scientific paradigm arises from a subtle error in applying a basic interpretive principle “Begin by establishing [not assuming] the point of view.” The result is a scientifically implausible order of creation events”

A few of things with this quote. Dr. Ross projects his own shortcomings in interpretation onto biblical creationists. Firstly, He conflates science with the modern academic paradigm as he has done throughout his book. Young earth creationists have no interest in trying to integrate Genesis with the modern academic paradigm. The observations of today are completely in accord with what we read in scripture. It is the old earthers like Ross, who have undertaken the mission of trying to integrate the modern academic paradigm with scripture. Secondly, the error is on the side of old earthers, who inject their assumptions from the modern academic paradigm into their biblical interpretation. Biblical creationists rather start with the basic interpretive principle that what God revealed in his word is true, so what we observe today is in accord with what He revealed in the Bible. Regarding his quote about the implausible order of creation events, you can see that Ross rejects the order of creation events that God revealed in scripture in order to accommodate naturalist assumptions.

On pg247-248 Ross unsuccessfully attempts to push the inconsistencies of his biblical interpretations with the observations onto biblical creationists. 

A few purported conflicts between the Bible [old earth interpretations] and the fossil record have arisen…

The conflicts arise only for the old earther since the catastrophic worldwide flood is the only sufficient explanation for the observations. For the old earther, it is assumed that fossils were buried in the order that the soil-of-the-time was exposed as the top soil and that there were epochs when certain creatures did not exist. Dr Ross believes this imperative, but there are out-of-place (for the old earther) fossils that are discordant with those assumptions

Genesis 1 gives the order of God’s creative works, but in both Dr. Ross’s posted timeline, which he posted years ago and on p249 we can see that Dr. Ross tries very hard to inject the modern academic paradigm into scripture

ch21p249

There are several problems with his chart, but I want to point out a particularly grievous problem in rows 9 and 10. Ross tells us that God’s last creative work was Adam and Eve, but just prior in row 9, Ross tells us that the Australian aboriginals emerged prior to Adam and Eve. This is both a terrible assumption and racist. Now, I do not believe Ross is a racist, but his views of the modern academic paradigm as an authority over scripture has resulted in a view that has racist implications.

As biblical creationists, we can praise God for the consistent nature of his revelation. We do not have to redefine the words in the Bible to accommodate modern academic paradigms or cultural changes in sexuality or political revolutions as we have seen Dr. Ross do. God’s Word is eternal and we can trust God to keep his word regarding the future since we can trust his revelation from the past.

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Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 20

Sunset2

The Significance of Man

It was encouraging to read through the beginning of chapter 20 where Dr. Ross identifies the specific points of agreement for biblical creationists and his brand of old earthism, which he calls “day-age creationism.”

  • Both views emphasize the divinely ordained significance of the human race.

  • Both assert that humanity is the only spiritual species on Earth.

  • Both proclaim humanity’s eternal destiny.

  • Both deny the naturalistic view of humans as the random result of blind processes.

  • Both declare that all humans arise from a single couple (Adam and Eve) whom God specially created just thousands of years ago.

Sadly, the agreements with biblical creationists is sparse from here on out as Dr. Ross continues the pattern of bringing outside ideas into his biblical interpretation. The rest of chapter 20 is a summary of a book (Who was Adam?) that Dr. Ross wrote with his cohort, Fazale Rana. So, this review will now expand to review THAT book as well. Let’s see what these two have to say about the federal head of humanity
Dr. Ross points out the special creation that is mankind and I heartily agree. Humans are unique in the universe because we have been created in the image of God, and for us Jesus came to pay the penalty of sin.

Expressions of worship are the key markers of humanity’s spiritual quality. The universality of worship is evidenced in the ubiquity of altars, temples, and other religious relics.

I agree! Everyone worships something -> Either the Creator or something lesser/unworthy/perverted
In the section titled “A Biblical Calendar” Dr. Ross says

Although biblical genealogies provide little or no help in establishing creation dates for the cosmos and Earth, they do provide a rough date for the advent of humanity…Even in the Genesis 5 and 11 genealogies, where the years between the birth dates of the father and the son are given, the chronology is not as tight as it might appear at first glance. Luke 3, for example, inserts at least one generation, namely Cainan, between Shelah and Arphaxad.

I have already dealt with Dr. Ross’s assumptions of “missing generations” when I reviewed chapter 2, but if he insists on continuing to misread scripture, I insist on correcting him. Dr. Ross while giving lip-service to the birth dates of the sons, seems not to understand the significance since he tries to convince the reader that Hebrew words for father and son could denote grandfather/grandson relationship rather than exclusively father/son. But since the age of the progenitor and the number of years between generations are given in the text of Genesis, then the specific relationship is not required to determine the timeline. Dr. Ross’s entire line of thinking is SOUNDLY refuted in this expert video by Dr. Kurt Wise. If you’re interested only in the topic of the trustworthiness of the chronogenealogies, start the video about 22 minutes.
What matters here is why he would try to argue with Jesus, when in Mark 10:6 it is recorded that Jesus said “But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female.” Dr. Ross says above that the genealogies in Genesis 5 & 11 “provide little or no help in establishing dates for the cosmos and Earth”, but Jesus clearly says that Adam was created at the beginning of creation. If by “beginning of creation” Dr. Ross means “the end of creation” then there is agreement, but if “the beginning of creation” is to have meaning at all, then Dr. Ross’s beliefs about age are discordant with those of Jesus.
The inset on pg237 includes some built-in naturalistic assumptions in place of Biblical interpretation.

Using the relatively accurate dates available for both Abram (Abraham) and Peleg to calibrate the genealogies may help guide some of the guesswork. Biblical and other historical records establish that Abraham lives about 4,000 years ago. Genesis 10:25 says that in Peleg’s time “the earth was divided.” Radiocarbon dating places the breaking of the Bering land bridge (an event that ended human migration from Eurasia to North and South America until the advent of ships) at 11,000 years ago. If life spans recorded in Genesis 5 and 11 are approximately proportional to the actual passage of time, then the dates for Abraham and Peleg would place the flood of Noah’s day roughly 30,000 to 50,000 years ago and the creation of Adam and Eve a few tens of thousands of years earlier.

Let’s look at the several levels of speculation with which Dr. Ross experiments with to see how they hold up:

  • Speculation 1 – “the earth was divided” means the land masses (Pangea) moved apart. If we look at Genesis 10, the context is describing the formation of the nations based on distinct families and languages. And what is discussed in Genesis 11? The tower of Babel where the single language of mankind is divided from a single language and the people are dispersed across the globe. So, rather than Dr. Ross’s speculation that it is the division of land masses, it fits the context better that the division is of the nations by language from a single people into distinct people groups.
  • Speculation 2 – “If the life spans recorded in Genesis…are approximately proportional to the actual passage of time” There is speculation here from Dr. Ross that the life spans recorded in Genesis are not really years or are in some way hyperbolic. This calls into question the very revelation of God. Why would he only speculate about the “actual” passage of time here and not in the other places of scripture?
  • Speculation 3 – “until the advent of ships” By his own admission, Noah built an enormous ship 20,000 – 40,000 speculated years prior to the speculated ending of the land bridge, but Ross doesn’t think mankind could make a boat during that ENTIRE time?!?!? There’s a serious contradiction in his speculation
  • Speculation 4 – “Carbon dating” I’ve had plenty to say about carbon dating in my review of Chapter 16. That was one of my favorite chapters to review as it exposed many of the cascading assumptions built into Dr. Ross’s rejection of the Bible’s account of a global flood in Genesis 6-9

In the section titled “Historical Calendar” Dr. Ross talks about cultural Big Bang events.
Anthropologists have found evidence for several cultural “big bang” events, each reflecting the difference spirit expression makes…Humanity’s arrival also launched the first clothing and jewelry industries. Dates for these cultural big bangs all cluster around 40,000 to 45,000 years ago.
It’s telling that on the previous page, he speculates that the flood of Noah’s day was 40,000 speculated years ago and now the cultural big bangs are aligned perfectly with the end of the worldwide flood & the dispersion of people after Babel…the dates are simply inflated to accommodate the imagined dates of the secularists.
From a biblical perspective, it makes much more sense that when Noah’s family exited the ark as the only humans on the planet recently flooded and a few hundred years later were dispersed throughout the planet that they took their learned cultures with them. The worldwide flood explains perfectly the dispersion of culture from a single point across the globe. This is especially obvious from the presence of ziggurat pyramids all over the world
To finish off the chapter, Dr. Ross jumps into genetics into an attempt to push the dates of Adam and Eve far enough back in time to accommodate his day-age old earthism.

By measuring DNA differences across several generations in different families, geneticists can measure the rates at which mtDNA and Y-DNA mutations occur. Such measures yield dates of 42,000 to 60,000 years ago for the most recent common male ancestor.

Of note, although Dr. Ross has claimed not to believe in the evolution of animals or humans, when we check his footnote (p359) for the source material on his claim above we see that he relies on naturalistic evolution of humans from a common ancestor with chimpanzees to get his numbers:

  • Population Growth of Human Y Chromosomes: A Study of Y Chromosome Microsatellites,” Molecular Biology and Evolution 16 (December 1999)
  • Inferring Human Population Sizes, Divergence Times and Rates of Gene Flow. In that article, the embedded assumption is prominent: “the assumed human-chimpanzee divergence of six million years to obtain the per year estimate of the neutral nucleotide substitution.”

But rather than relying on those false assumptions and then re-interpreting the Bible to match them as we have seen Ross do, we should start with the Bible as revealed history and conduct science based on the irrefutable revelation of God as Dr. Marvin Lubenow does on pg 227 of his work, Bones of Contention

MitochondrialEve_Lubenow
As we can clearly see, observations line up perfectly with what God revealed in his word, and this is the correct expectation for us as biblical creationists because God both created everything and revealed his interaction with history in his Word.
As biblical creationists, we can praise God for the consistent nature of his revelation. We do not have to redefine the words in the Bible to accommodate modern academic paradigms or cultural changes in sexuality or political revolutions as we have seen Dr. Ross do. God’s Word is eternal and we can trust God to keep his word regarding the future since we can trust his revelation from the past.
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Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 19

SunsetEnochStomp

Narrow Time Windows

If you haven’t had a chance to see the first 18 chapters of this book review, let me encourage you to go back to the table of contents and browse your way through

This is a shorter chapter from Dr. Ross, and in it he makes the claim that naturalistic assumptions are necessary for the age of the universe, the age of galaxies, and the age of planets to support life. 

A universe and a galaxy must reach a particular age before they can support life. Only when a star and a moon are of a particular age is life possible near them. And only when a planet is of a particular age is life possible on it. For intelligent life, the time limitations are dramatically more constrained.

While Dr. Ross has said that he does not hold to biological evolution as taught by the likes of Richard Dawkins, his statements above endorse the naturalistic ideas of 

  • cosmic evolution 
  • chemical evolution
  • galactic evolution 
  • stellar evolution 
  • planetary evolution
  • lunar evolution 
  • terrestrial evolution 
  • environmental evolution 

As we read scripture, we see that none of these naturalistic ideas are compatible with God’s revelation. These evolutionary theories are simply naturalistic mechanisms proposed IN PLACE OF what God did with his supreme power. It’s not that God could not or has not used natural processes to produce results (He has!). The problem is that Dr. Ross has re-interpreted what God actually said He did in the creative process of Genesis 1 to mean something else.

Age Window of the Universe

For biochemical processes to operate, the universe can be neither too hot nor too cold. As the universe expands from the creation event, it cools, like any other system obeying the thermodynamic laws (the greater volume or surface area, the less heat energy there is to go around.)…These conditions must be just right for liquid water to form and remain in significant quantities in just-right locations. As a result, there are only a few billion years in history if the universe’s expansion when a suitable habitat for primitive life is even possible.

The built-in assumptions that the universe has to be a particular age keeps him from being able to view the Bible from the author’s intended message. We see him make these claims about the age of the universe, but he has no other universes or other billions of years of history with which to compare. How can he possibly calibrate his assumptions since there are no other universes when he’s bound by less than 100 years of experience?

I’m particularly critical of the statement above regarding Ross’s assumption of the formation of liquid water. In scripture we read that once God created water out of nothing, the rest of the universe was formed out of that water. But Dr. Ross assumes that water is just another one of the things that nature formed during its chemical/cosmic evolution. In the past, I’ve asked Dr. Ross about why he feels that the flood of Genesis 6-9 is a minor local flood, and he always (irrationally) points me to 2 Peter 2. Sadly, he joins the skeptics when his assumptions keep him recognizing the creative works and the worldwide judgment of those works in 2 Peter 3 “But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.”

So, you can see that Dr. Ross’s claims that water formed naturalistically and that the flood was just a minor local event in the middle east are NOT permitted by scripture as a whole – but particularly by 2 Peter 3:5-6

In addition to the scriptural problems with water, Dr. Ross must somehow overcome the observational problems with his assumptions about water in relation to the moon. The moon could not have formed by any of the naturalistic proposals put forth AND contain H₂O. Yet, the moon contains frozen H₂O

On p230, Dr. Ross makes claims about the chemical evolution

The fusion of most life-essential heavy elements must await the gravitational collapse of gas clouds into giant stars…In fact, two generations of such stars must burn up in order to build a density of heavier elements sufficient to make life chemistry possible.

At best, these are guesses and at worst wild claims since no one has ever observed the process of a star from birth to death let alone TWO generations of stars from birth to death or the effects on elements of these generations. 

Because of the exothermic nature of the heavy elements in chemical formation, there is not a suitable resolution for the evolution of elements with a higher atomic weight than Iron (Fe) at 26.

Notice the superlatives and uncalibrated assumptions in the quote below:

Only in galaxies can the density of heavy elements become great enough to support life chemistry. But even in galaxies the appropriate density of life-essential elements is achieved only at one particular time. When the galaxy is too young, not enough heavy elements have been made in its stars for life chemistry to be possible. When the galaxy is too old, star and planet formation have ceased, and no stars and planets young enough for life chemistry will exist. Life is possible only in galaxies older than about 10 billion years and younger than about 20 billion years.

It’s like saying Adam was too young to speak and name all the animals on the day he was created because only humans older than 2 years old can speak in complete thoughts, and only humans older than ten would be creative enough and with a vocabulary large enough to name all the animals. Ross fills his book with unjustified assumptions at the expense of revelation from God. He continues this pattern into the next paragraph

For life on a planet to be possible, the planet must be warmed by a star that burns at a near-constant brightness and color. For intelligent life to be possible, the star’s flaring activity and X-ray radiation must be minimal…In the first 50 million years after a star as massive as the Sun begins to shine, it burns far too erratically to maintain temperatures suitable for life on an orbiting planet. For the next 500 million years, the X-ray emission is too intense. After that, the flaring activity continues to subside until it reaches a minimum, when the star is 4.6 billion years old.

As if he witnessed and documented this process from beginning to end. But the scriptures tell a different story. On the fourth day God made the sun, moon, planets, and stars. So, Ross’s book is not only in conflict with the Bible, but he has ignored the scientific impossibilities of his yarn about the naturalistic formation of the Sun. The sun would not have been bright enough to provide sufficient heat on the earth a billion years ago when life is thought (by the naturalists) to have emerged. It’s a paradox for old earthists that has no coherent resolution.

Ross’s closing thoughts for the chapter on p233 reveal again his commitment to the modern academic paradigm as his interpretive authority instead of scripture being in the highest place.

A timescale for the universe and Earth of only a few thousand years also contradicts nature, which shows how and why astronomical bodies must be at least a half billion years old to be ready for life.

Ross never concerns himself with conflicts with scripture since he feels free to re-interpret the Bible’s actual text based on the fashionable paradigm that is currently accepted and promoted by the secularists.

As biblical creationists, we can praise God for the consistent nature of his revelation. We do not have to redefine the words in the Bible to accommodate modern academic paradigms or cultural changes in sexuality or political revolutions as we have seen Dr. Ross do. God’s Word is eternal and we can trust God to keep his word regarding the future since we can trust his revelation from the past.

 

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Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 18

IMG_4899Physical Reality Breaks through the Fog

Ross jumps headfirst into both the sweeping generalization fallacy and the strawman fallacy to open ch 18

Many young-creationist leaders declare that their view is reality and that virtually all of what has been discovered in the hard sciences is not what scientists think it is. This apparent antiscience position obscures physical reality in a dense fog

You will notice how Ross equivocates (again) the modern academic paradigm (MAP) with “hard science” and how the MAP is authoritative for him and his ilk.

Virtually all of what has been discovered” ?!?!?!? Ross literally said that biblical creationists have ignored virtually all of what has been discovered. Ross has virtually ignored all of what God has revealed in his word about the global flood, what Jesus said in Mark 10:6, and what Moses etched in stone from the voice of the Almighty in Exodus 20 that the days of Genesis 1 are literal days. 

Galaxies, stars, fossils, dinosaurs, Neanderthals, and many other subjects of scientific inquiry remain cloaked in mystery, supposedly lacking satisfactory explanation. This refusal to acknowledge established data causes many people to dismiss belief in creationism as either complete idiocy or downright deception.

If he had been referring to old earthism, I would agree with him. Old earthism cannot sufficiently explain 

According to geology professor Ian Plimer…Michael Ruse…Murray Gell-Mann

According to Ian Plimer’s wikipedia page: “He has been a critic of creationism…In his book Telling Lies for God: Reason vs Creationism (1994), Plimer attacked creationists in Australia.

According to Michael Ruse’s wikipedia page: “Ruse takes the position that it is possible to reconcile the Christian faith with evolutionary theory. Ruse is an atheist.”

According to Murray Gell-Mann’s wikipedia page: “As a humanist and an agnostic, Gell-Mann was a Humanist Laureate in the International Academy of Humanism.”

Why would Dr. Ross cite these three God-haters in order to support his old earthism? Ross doesn’t say, but it does not help build a positive case for his old earthism. It is simply more of the same types of shallow attacks against which Ross has spoken. But Ross cares only that these kinds of attacks not be directed at him, not so much when the attacks are directed against his enemies: biblical creationists.

Still on the opening page of ch18, Ross continues:

The age-old power struggle between creationists and scientists began long before Galileo, but in some ways resembles the current conflict..In the early 1600s, Roman Catholic authorities refused Galileo’s invitation to look through his telescope…But the Roman Catholic prelates were afraid that laypeople might follow Galileo’s example and begin to publicly challenge biblical interpretations once taught only by priests, bishops, and cardinals. Laypeople were strongly discouraged from even reading the Bible.

Ross is correct that the struggle between biblical creationists and the modern academic paradigm continues to this day, but again, he has confused the protagonists and the antagonists. Those who hold the academic/political/cultural power are the old earthers like the Romanists of old. And those, who trust God’s Word and are willing to stand solidly thereon are the biblical creationists alongside Galileo. See, Galileo was not persecuted by the Romanists for his views on astronomy; Galileo was harassed by the (then) modern academic/religious paradigm for speaking out against the political/religious power of the day: the Pope. And in much the same way, “how DARE the biblical creationists for speaking out against the academic/cultural powers of today by questioning old age assumptions!!!” 

Of note, the Romanists of today are old earthers. They teach both old earthism and biological evolution, and while Dr. Ross does not openly support biological evolution; he has subjected himself to the modern academic paradigm and demands the same of biblical interpretation.

The idea of a long history of plant and animal decay and death is difficult for some to face. Integrating such a seemingly harsh reality with that of a loving, omniscient, omnipotent God can present a significant emotional and spiritual challenge.

Dr. Ross’s old earth assumptions of millions of years of animal suffering and death has been resoundingly dealt with in ch9 of this book review. So, Christians are not struggling with the integration of animal suffering/death and a loving God – Christians are struggling with the integration of old earthism into the Bible. 

Christian orthodoxy must, however, remain alert to this denial of physical  history and its implications

It’s rich that Dr. Ross would accuse others of denying history when his entire business model is built upon the OUTRIGHT denial of the global flood that is recorded in Genesis 7-9. Dr. Ross is even warned against denying the global flood in 2 Peter 3 when alongside his skeptic allies he is notified: “First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come…But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.

Ross whines that old earthers are “persecuted” by biblical creationists but by the comments from earlier in the chapter, he is fine with attacking those who hold God’s Word as the highest authority. By his reasoning (anyone, who claims to be a Christian should be allowed to speak/teach the Bible) we should allow Jehovah’s Witnesses, Romanists, and non-Trinitarians to teach the Bible just because they claim to be Christians?

ch18p223

Doctrine does not divide; Bad doctrine divides

On pg 224 Dr. Ross makes several errors about biblical creationists

According to young-earth creationists leaders…coal, oil, gas, and topsoil are not the remains of thousands of previous generations of life. Nor do coral bands and ice layers demark real years past. Nor does erosion of craters and mountains on Earth, other planets, and moons result from real ongoing natural processes. All these things must be illusions, according to a young-universe creationist perspective.

NOOOOOOOOO!!!!! These things are not illusory. All of those (except the other planets/moons) are the result of the worldwide flood as God described in Genesis 6-9. Dr. Ross shows yet again that rather than making a case against what biblical creationists actually believe and teach, he is content to build up strawman arguments of his enemies and then burn them down with acrimony all while crying that he is the victim of young earth persecution.

He then ratchets up the rhetoric and instead of insisting that young earth creationists have rebelled against just the latest scientific assumptions, he says

The fear that incites such a strong denial of physical reality and cosmic history implications must be addressed.

Now biblical creationists deny physical reality?!?!? 

On pg225 he continues:

If we take the Bible seriously and literally, not basis for such fear (fear that old earthism is true) exists.

What? Literally? He says to take the Bible literally, although he advocates billion year long days, death/disease/thorns prior to sin, a minor flood in the Mesapotamian river valley, and interpretations of the corrupted creation has authority over the eternal word of God. This is why I have trust issues with old earthers. “LITERALLY” he says.

Inigo-Montoya-Meme

Again on pg225 we find that Dr. Ross elevates the interpretations of observations above God’s Word

To question and challenge scientists’ interpretations of new findings may seem intimidating, but it can be done respectfully, on the basis of facts.

No! On the basis of God’s Word. God’s revelation through his eternal Word is the justification for knowledge (Prov 1:7, Hosea 4:6, Isaiah 33:6, Col 2:3). The facts will always support what God has revealed in his Word, but we must remember that your ultimate authority matters!

Perhaps the most tragic aspect of denying nature’s scientifically established characteristics…

Do you see again how he puts the modern academic paradigm as the authority which Ross elevates over scripture? He continues to conflate the interpretations of the modern academic paradigm with actual science.

Four examples of observations and interpretations on which the community of research astronomers and physicists agree are given as follows. Each carries enormous theological significance, which the majority of scientists also acknowledge.”

Let me acknowledge the enormous theological significance of Ross’s interpretations too. And before I share Ross’s 4 examples, let me say that even though we’ve already covered the main theological significance of Ross’s assumptions, I can’t say it enough:

Ross assumes that death/suffering/corruption/thorns are all part of God’s “very good” creation even though they most are specifically mentioned as the RESULT/CURSE of the sin of mankind. Let’s add cancer, disease, pathogenic actions of bacteria/viruses, and predation since we find all of these in the fossil record, which Ross denies is a result of the global flood as recorded in Genesis 6-9. The tragedy for old earthers like Dr. Ross is that they are willing to accept the curses of sin death/suffering/thorns as part of God’s very good character even though they are shown throughout scripture to be the opposite of good.

  1. Science says: The universe is billions of years old
  2. Science says: The universe can be traced back to a single, ultimate, simultaneous origin of matter, energy, space, and time.
  3. Science says: The universe, our galaxy, and the solar system exhibit more than 500 different characteristics requiring exquisite fine-tuning  for life’s possible existence
  4. Science says: Life in complex forms with an optimized ecology originated on Earth suddenly, UNDER HOSTILE CONDITIONS without the benefit of a prebiotic soup or a prebiotic mineral substrate. <bold, capitalization added by book reviewer>

Regarding all four of his examples, science does not say anything. This is a the reification fallacy. He’s given personal or concrete qualities to a concept or process, which is fallacious.

Item 1 cannot be true because of the arguments we have already discussed in scripture and current observations. Item 2 is a hyperbolic overstatement that disregards Genesis 1:1, since God made the Earth at the beginning. I do not have a critique of item 3, but I want you to pay particular attention to the BOLDED and CAPITALIZED phrase in item 4. This phrase is incongruous with and hopelessly opposed to Genesis 1:31 “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.”

It’s hard to state more clearly that Ross’s ideas and assumptions, while he claims them to in agreement with scripture, are opposed to what God has revealed in his Word.

As biblical creationists, we can praise God for the consistent nature of his revelation. We do not have to redefine the words in the Bible to accommodate modern academic paradigms or cultural changes in sexuality or political revolutions as we have seen Dr. Ross do. God’s Word is eternal and we can trust God to keep his word regarding the future since we can trust his revelation from the past.

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Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 17

time lapse photography of waterfalls during sunset

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The Scientific Case for a Young Cosmos

In this chapter, Dr. Ross lays out 12 well known arguments from biblical creationists that are used and that were used in the past to refute old earthism. He then gives a reply to all twelve in an attempt to preserve old earthism. In the first sixteen chapters (and the introduction), I have shown that he has failed to build a congruent case for old earthism from both scripture and science. Let’s see how he does responding to these dozen claims for a young cosmos

Exhibit A: The continents erode too quickly for Earth to be old

Essentially the case for a young earth is measuring the erosion rate of the continents, and this extrapolation gives a time limiting factor of only 16 million years.

Reply: This challenge focuses on one side of the equation only. It fails to acknowledge that lava flows, delta and continental shelf buildup (from eroded material), coral reef buildup, and uplift from colliding tectonic plates occur at rates roughly equivalent to, and in some cases far exceeding, the erosion rate.

I’m not a geologist…neither is he. But neither of us need to be a geologist to identify the GIGANTIC problem in his rescue device. The short answer is that fossils exist, so his reply is impotent.

The long answer, will take a little explaining and maybe a few pictures. While Dr. Ross is not a biological evolutionist he agrees with their interpretation of fossil layers since he rejects the worldwide flood account of Genesis 6-9. While he says he believes the Bible, he thinks instead that the account in Genesis is a local flood.

Let’s start with the picture below, which is a picture of what Ross is describing, but clearly not what is found. To begin with, I disagree with the ages that have been assigned to each layer for both biblical and scientific reasons, but for the sake of argument, we’ll use Dr. Ross’s understanding of the fossils to refute his rescue device. As wind and water erosion takes off the top level, Dr. Ross has claimed that uplift from tectonic plates replaces the levels that are lost to erosion. As stated earlier, and clearly an extrapolation with which Dr. Ross agrees, the continents could have been COMPLETELY ERODED AWAY were it not for continental uplift. The continental uplift replaces the eroded layers, but the erosion would have removed the fossils completely in at most 16 millions years. But there are fossils. The fossils that are dug from the earth are clear evidence for a worldwide flood about 4500 year ago, just as the Bible tells us.

ErosionDestroysFossils

In “Exhibit B: Lunar dust accumulates too quickly to allow for an old earth” Ross mentions a contention that biblical creationists abandoned more than two decades ago, so there’s no need to go into this one.

Exhibit C: Earth’s magnetic field decays too rapidly to allow for an old Earth

Reply: Earth’s magnetic field does not undergo steady weakening but rather a variable alteration

Dr. Jonathan Sarfati and Dr. Jason Lisle have built cases for the steady exponential decline of the earth’s magnetic field such that the earth must indeed be young instead of Dr. Ross’s claims.

https://creation.com/the-earths-magnetic-field-evidence-that-the-earth-is-young

https://answersingenesis.org/astronomy/the-age-of-the-universe-part-2/

Exhibit D: The Sun burns by gravitational contraction, so it cannot be billions of years old

Reply: This argument overlooks significant data.

This is another obsolete argument for biblical creationists…however, the resolution with which Dr. Ross replies turns out to have its own serious shortcoming. It is so bad in fact, that it’s been given the name: The Faint Young Sun Paradox. Essentially, since the sun provides energy by nuclear fusion, it is getting brighter. So, billions of years ago, the sun would have been so dim that there would not have been enough energy reaching the frozen earth to sustain any kind of life. The older that old earthers think the sun/earth combination is, the worse the problem gets for them

Ch17FaintYoungSunParadox

 

Exhibit E: Galaxy clusters would be more widely dispersed if the universe were old.

Reply: This argument rests, first, on an incorrect assumption. It assumes that all the mass within galaxy clusters is luminous.

First of all, it is rich that Dr. Ross would accuse someone else of incorrect assumptions when we’ve seen over and over how he assumes the creation, which has been corrupted by sin, is on equal authoritative grounds with God’s revealed and eternal Word. We’ve also seen him incorrectly assume that the modern academic paradigm is the same as science. But on to his reply

Dr. Ross’s reply depends upon the non-scientific concept of dark matter/energy. He also resorts to dark ordinary matter (brown dwarfs, planets, asteroids, rocks, dust, and cold gas) as being four and a half times more mass than luminous matter. However, this is the special pleading fallacy since our own solar system, which is the best place for measuring matter and mass shows that the sun has 99.9% of the mass. He’s got to assume all of the other solar systems (which are much harder to get accurate measurements) are not just different from the one we inhabit but so different as to make them completely unrecognizable

Exhibit F: The crystal halos that arise from radioactive polonium decay indicate that the earth is young.

Reply: If the granite crystal halo evidence proves reliable, it simply indicates rapid formation of certain rocks, not the entire planet.

This argument takes the form that since polonium-218 has a half life of 3 minutes and the halos that record their decay still exist in granite, that the granite did not take millions of years to cool. Ross’s reply is utterly deficient, even to the point of a concession:

Even if Gentry’s granite crystal halos do result from polonium-218 decay, Gentry has merely exposed a phenomenon that requires further study, a phenomenon that geologists’ current understanding does not explain.

So deep has old earthism got its hooks in Dr. Ross that he cannot see the clear evidence for biblical creation.

Exhibit G: Rapid sedimentation and peat deposition following the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption demonstrate that geological processes are rapid, not gradual. So earth could be young.

Reply: The problem lies in what rhetoricians call the “either-or” fallacy – the assumption that all geological processes occur either gradually or rapidly. The young-earth versus old-earth debate is pictures in this context as a battle between the principles of uniformitarianism and the principles of catastrophism, with one significant difference…Evidence of rapid geological processes, such as those resulting from the Mount St. Helens eruption, fail to support the notion that every structure in Earth’s crust formed quickly and simultaneously.

Yet, isn’t science supposed to make observations and see if it supports or falsifies a theory? The evidence resulting from the Mt St Helens eruption are directly comparable to what one would expect during the worldwide flood of Noah’s day if scaled up appropriately. So, rather than taking what has been observed to create hundreds of layers, Ross rejects observations and instead inserts an unobserved mechanism to preserve old earthism. His attempt to refute Exhibit G is a disastrous mess as shown in these videos below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjdZ3Gs-PTk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4a6oWZQ2ok

https://youtu.be/W4vK6NaSLBg

 

Exhibit H: Given that a spiral galaxy’s spiral structure winds up and disappears after just three of four rotations of the galaxy, spiral galaxies must be relatively young.

Reply: Young earth creationists would be correct about spiral arms windup if the arms were material structures, But they are not. As first explained in 1964…galaxy arms are density waves.

Astrophysicist Jason Lisle tells us the postulating density waves as a rescue device for old earthers creates more problems than it solves.

Ch17DensityWaves

Exhibit I: Trails of human footprints beside or crossing over dinosaur prints prove that dinosaurs were contemporaneous with humans, not millions of years old.

Reply: The dinosaur prints at the discovery sites have been identified as belonging to tridactyls, three-toed carnivorous dinosaurs.

There are many such evidences that have been put forth as dinosaur and human footprints. And it’s likely that some or most have been refuted. But there are still some fossils that have merit.

See the virtual tour of the creation museum in Glen Rose, TX 

Here is the personal testimony of the evolutionist-turned-creationist who excavated one of the Paluxy tracks

Even if those particular tracks turn out not to be human footprints, the evidence for humans and dinosaurs co-existing is overwhelming

MarcoPoloDinosaur

Not specifically about dinosaurs and humans living together but that dinosaurs lived in the recent past, here is an updated list of fossils that old earthers contend should be old but are shown to be young

Thinking that dinosaurs was a stronghold of old earthism, Dr. Ross included this exhibit in his book, but as you can see, the evidence is clearly on the side of biblical creation since dinosaurs lived recently enough to be seen and documented alive by mankind

Exhibit J: Since a comet’s average life span is only a few thousand years and the supply of new comets is limited, the existence of comets today proces the solar system cannot be more than several thousand years old.

Reply: …estimates of average comet longevity made prior to 1980 leaned heavily on the low side.

Dr. Ross declares with certainty that there are at least three sources for comets because he knows that comets would have disintegrated if they were truly billions of years old

Today, the existence of Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud comets is no longer based solely on theoretical calculations. In addition to finding the two distant comet clouds, astronomers have found a third distant comet repository, “the scattered disc.”

But a quick internet search reveals that Ross’s assertions of evidence are vacuous

 

Exhibit K: The lack of greatly expanded supernova remnants (SNRs) proves that such remnants have been expanding for no more than (probably less than) a few tens of thousands of years.

Reply: The mere existence of SNRs says that our galaxy and other galaxies are old…Observational difficulties, rather than an actual deficiency of SNRs, lie at the core of this cosmic age challenge.

It seems enormously hypocritical that Ross would declare the Oort cloud, which is unobservable, is irrefutable evidence, but SNRs which are thousands of light years across and visible from hundreds of thousands of light years away have “observational difficulties” and are therefore moot

For astronomers who are biblical creationists, the expectation is that if the Milky Way is about 6K-7K  years old, there should be about 125 visible Stage 2 supernova remnants. Conversely, for those who (like Ross and Bill Nye and Richard Dawkins and Neil deGrasse Tyson) believe in billions of years, would expect there to be about 2300 stage 2 SNRs. When actually looking into the Milky Way, we observe about 200 SNRs. So, you can see from the chart below that the evidence strongly supports biblical creation and is discordant with old earth assumptions. The problem gets even worse for those choosing to compromise God’s Word in favor of naturalistic assumptions when considering stage 3 SNRs.

SuperNovaRemnants

 

Exhibit L: Backward-rotating planets and backward-revolving moons in the solar system demonstrate that the solar system cannot be very old.

Reply: The standard model for our solar system’s formation does not predict, as this challenge assumes, that all solar system bodies will rotate and revolve in the same direction as the sun.

The standard nebular model for planetary formation is saturated with galaxy-sized problems:

“The formation of planetesimals is the biggest unsolved problem…The formation of giant planets is another unsolved problem…Another problem of giant planet formation is their migration…different rotation between the inner and outer parts of a ring could not allow condensation of material.”

But these are all of the questions that the nebular theory is supposed to EXPLAIN, so it can’t explain the formation of planets if THAT’s the biggest problem!

Regarding the backward-rotating planets, Astrophysicist Dr. Jason Lisle has this to say

“Secularists (and other old earthers including Dr. Ross) do not have a good explanation for the backward rotation of Venus. In the secular scenario, the solar system is supposed to have formed from the collapse of a rotating nebula. The natural expectation of this would be that all planets would rotate in the same direction at about the same rate, and they would all have very little axial tilt. Venus is the worst offender to this concept, since it rotates exactly the opposite of what the evolutionary models require. But we expect such diversity in the biblical view.”

Dr. Ross does not specifically include this next YEC point as an exhibit for a young cosmos, but he does include this as a sidebar on a full page.

Does Lunar Recession Refute an Old Earth?

Lunar recession refers to the Moon’s movement away from Earth due to the transfer of angular momentum from Earth to Moon as a consequence of the tidal interaction of the Earth-Moon system…the Moon could not have been receding from the Earth for more than 1.4-2.3 billions years.

Ross’s rescue device is:

The conflict is resolved if the Moon’s tidal torque was less forceful in the past than it is now. In 1982, Kirk Hansen showed that the number, sizes, shapes, and geographical placements of the continents and their accompanying continental shelves hugely impact the Moon’s tidal torque on Earth.

 But we can clearly see that this is special pleading. There’s no evidence that the moon’s tidal torque was less forceful in the past. It relies both on a special (unobserved) amount of matter in a special (unobserved) arrangement of matter for a special (unobserved) amount of time.

Dr. Henry from Creation.com had this to say regarding the secular origins of the moon and moon recession

“Over the approximately 6,000 years since the creation of the universe, the lunar recession rate has been essentially constant at the present value. However, assuming a multi-billion year age, lunar recession rates would have been much higher in the distant past than now. The currently accepted parameters indicate that the moon would have required 1.3 Ga to move from its origin at the Roche limit to its present position. This is the moon’s upper-limit age and shows that the conventional chronology is incorrect. If the solar system were actually 4.6 Ga old, the moon would have receded to a distance from earth approximately 20% beyond its present position. There is a widespread belief that the impact theory of lunar origin has neutralized these dilemmas for conventional chronology”

Ross’s special rescue device is insufficient to preserve old earthism. 

To finish the chapter, Dr. Ross writes:

John Morris, a geological engineer and current president of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), once acknowledged in a radio interview that he has never met (or heard of) a scientist who became convinced on the basis of science alone that the universe or Earth is only thousands of years old.

In the footnotes, it is noted that the question that was asked to John Morris was

Have you or any of your colleagues ever met or heard of a scientist who became persuaded that the universe or Earth is only thousands of years old based on scientific evidence without any reference to a particular interpretation of the Bible?

That is not the stance of most biblical creationists, but for sake of argument, let’s grant this and suggest this change to the question:

“Have you ever heard of a scientist who became convinced that a person could be dead for three days and then return to life based only on peer-reviewed evidence rather than reading it in the Bible?”

This is why proper biblical hermeneutics is so important. The question could be formed in such a way as to make those reading Dr. Ross’s work think that this is a case-closed argument. Here are a few examples of scientists who HAVE been convinced of the scientific evidence for biblical creation that led them to Christ and that contradict Ross’s implication:

 

As you can see from the above responses to Dr. Ross’s 13 replies to young earth arguments, he has fallen far short of refuting them, but he did not even attempt to tackle the other 100 arguments presented  by creation.com

As biblical creationists, we can praise God for the consistent nature of his revelation. We do not have to redefine the words in the Bible to accommodate modern academic paradigms or cultural changes in sexuality or political revolutions as we have seen Dr. Ross do. God’s Word is eternal and we can trust God to keep his word regarding the future since we can trust his revelation from the past.

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Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 16

MeasuringTime

The Reliability of Radiometric Dating

Radiometric dating is the death-knell for biblical creationism…Yes? Time and time again, the ages that are expected to be found by dating a fossil using radiometric extrapolations are confirmed with amazing precision…correct? Never have there been exceptions to finding the expected ages when using radiometric dating…right?

Let’s hear what Dr. Ross would have to say. On page 181, he gives a general explanation of how radiometric dating works:

Radiometric clocks operate on the principle of half-life decay. Radioactive isotopes disintegrate through time; that is, they decay into lighter elements.

Calling the assumption-filled extrapolation of radiometric dating a clock is as bit presumptuous since the “clock” routinely gives incorrect dates on known historical ages.

One of the premier examples is when rocks from the Mt. St. Helens eruption, which occurred in 1980, were radiometrically dated 10 years after the eruption, the results “dated” the samples to be between 350,000 and 2,800,000 years old.

So if radiometric dating produces inaccurate results for samples of known ages, how can radiometric dating be expected to produce accurate results for samples of unknown ages? It cannot

In the section he titles “Conditions for Reliability” Dr. Ross says

One limiting condition concerns the rock sample’s age. The closer that age is to the radiometric half-life of the isotope being measured, the better.

Surely, Dr. Ross recognizes the assumption that he’s built into his condition. How does one know the age, since that’s what the radiometric dating mechanism is supposed to provide? His assumption is that the geologic layer in which the rock sample is found provides the boundary age. He has assumed that the sedimentary layers of rock in which the samples are found has been laid down over millions and billions years rather than the global flood described in Genesis 7-8. So, the “age” has already been determined by the layer in which it is found, so radiometric dating should align with those assumptions. When the radiometric dating process does not produce a date that corresponds to that geologic layer, the result is determined to have been contaminated or the result must be interpreted differently. Never do old earthers question the method of radiometric dating

Ross mentions two other conditions for reliability on pg183:

Sample size…sample purity. The more a sample is contaminated by materials of different ages, the less reliable the radiometric date.

Regarding sample purity: again, how does he know there is contamination of materials with different ages if that’s what he’s trying to prove? It’s as if a built-in excuse has been merged with the conditions, so that when a sample is shown to be outside the geologic layers or yields an “incorrect” date, the old earther can say “It was contaminated by materials with different ages.”

In his introduction to the mechanism of radiometric dating, Dr. Ross does not reveal the three inherent assumptions within the process:

  1. The original ratio of parent:daughter ratio is assumed to be 1:0
  2. The decay rate has always been the same
  3. No contamination has ever happened throughout the existence of the sample

In the next section, Dr. Ross attempts to wash away these assumptions by adding ANOTHER assumption. He assumes the age of the sample before starting the radiometric process. See his quote:

Supposed “evidence” against the reliability of radiometric dating focuses on the method’s “flaws” or inaccuracies when applied outside its limitations. For yields absurd dates. Why? With a half-life of 4.51 billion years, uranium-238 example, uranium-238 radiometric dating, when applied to young samples, dating cannot be effective for measuring the age of any sample younger than a few hundred million years old.

How does he know the sample is younger than a few million years old?

You can’t wash away one assumption with another assumption and expect your data to be MORE accurate…especially when the rescue-device assumption is what you’re trying to figure out.

In an uncanny admission, Dr. Ross states:

However, numerous large samples of uncontaminated charcoal from an ancient city dated to 1412 BC ± 1 year would yield a secure conclusion that the city burned sometime between 1414 and 1410 BC.

  1. How does he know the sample was uncontaminated? If we could tell which samples were and weren’t contaminated, we would only test the uncontaminated ones. His assumption is clouding his method
  2. Isn’t coal supposed to be millions of years old according to old earthers? How could MOY old coal test at 1400 years?

In the section titled “Have Decay Rates Changed?” Dr Ross has this to say:

The Bible describes the universe’s laws of physics as unchanging from the beginning until God replaces the universe with the new creation described in Revelation 21-22. In Jeremiah 33:25 God declares that the laws governing the heavens and Earth are “fixed”.

In part b of my review of chapter 7, I already refuted Dr. Ross’s wild claim about the Bible teaching the concept of invariant physical laws as a falsification of biblical creationism. The Bible assuredly does not teach that radiometric decay rates have never changed.

However, if (as Dr. Ross has claimed) God has declared the fixed laws of radiometric decay as unchangeable and upheld by God’s power, it would be impossible for humans to alter the inalterable…yes?

Physicists have observed accelerated radiometric decay in those rare instances… where decay occurs as electrons stray into the nucleus. In one experiment physicists forced an accelerated decay rate by encasing some radiometric atoms inside buckeyballs

So, are decay rates inalterable because God has made a covenant with the decay rates…or is your position incorrect?

Besides the experiments that Ross mentions above, the RATE team from ICR produced strong results showing that specific conditions (like those found at the beginning of creation and during the worldwide flood) would have affected the decay rates, thusly showing that the earth is as old as the Bible says…about 6000 years.

Dr. Ross later mentions that the known problem for old earthism of the abundance of Helium trapped in diamonds and zircons isn’t a problem. There is however enough helium trapped in zircons to show that there has been massive amounts of decay, but since helium escapes quickly and is still trapped, then not enough time has elapsed for the helium to escape. The clear conclusion is that the decay rate was altered and the earth is not old as Dr. Ross contends.

In the section titled “Nature’s Calendars” Dr. Ross talks about tree rings and ice core evidence that supports old earthism. Unfortunately, Dr. Ross has made the unfounded assumption that both tree rings and ice layers are annual and have ONLY been annual since the beginning of time.

Each year another ring or layer is added.

He does make mention that he is aware of the revived fossil fighter plane which though buried beneath over 250 feet of ice could only have been 50 years old, so the concept of “annual layers” is a fiction. He counters that the ice cores that “confirm” old ages was dug out “hundreds of miles from the nearest sea coasts.” But this does not help him. Since the flood described in Genesis 7-8 once covered the whole earth, those areas that he is talking about were recently sea coasts as the water receded from the land. He is making the assumption that the conditions that created all of the ice cores were consistent for the hundreds of thousands of years, but he has no way to verify his claim.

Dr. Ross makes no mention of the many incorrect and contradictory results that radiometric dating has produced, so below is a collection of many of them:

As biblical creationists, we can praise God for the consistent nature of his revelation. We do not have to redefine the words in the Bible to accommodate modern academic paradigms or cultural changes in sexuality or political revolutions as we have seen Dr. Ross do. God’s Word is eternal and we can trust God to keep his word regarding the future since we can trust his revelation from the past.

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