Physical 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?
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.
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.
- Science says: The universe is billions of years old
- Science says: The universe can be traced back to a single, ultimate, simultaneous origin of matter, energy, space, and time.
- 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
- 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.