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The Wieland-Willis debate 2003 Q&A

Some links to further information and answers to questions that the debate may raise

The debate, sponsored by Northside Christian Church, Brisbane, Australia, was held in front of around 1,100 people. Carl Wieland is CEO of Answers in Genesis, Australia [now Creation Ministries International, Australia]. Paul Willis is a science journalist and evolutionary paleontologist who was Australian Skeptic of the Year. For a report on the debate, click here. For reaction to the debate, click here.

The affirmative case (Dr Wieland)

The negative case (Dr Willis)

  • On the creationist scientist, Dr Kurt Wise of Bryan College, as saying that the majority of the evidence supports an old earth and that he only believes in a young earth because of the Bible, Dr Wise actually provides much evidence for a young earth in his book, Faith, Form, and Time: What the Bible Teaches and Science Confirms about Creation and the Age of the Earth, Broadman and Holman Publishers, Nashville, TN. Like we at CMI, Dr Wise recognizes that presuppositions play a big role in historical science. He gets his presuppositions from the Bible’s account of history, so this affects the way he interprets the data regarding the age of the earth. It is unfortunate that Dr Wise put his statements the way he did, such that materialists can misuse what he said for their purposes.
  • ‘All the evidence supports an old earth.’ See Young Age Evidence Q&A. For material on Dr Willis’s other arguments, see the links in Dr Wieland’s rebuttal.

Rebuttals

(Some of the rebuttals listed below came up in the last session—i.e. some of the summary/conclusion time was taken up with further rebuttal.)

Wieland

The only point that Dr Willis made that was not addressed/rebutted was the issue of dinosaur nests. John Woodmorappe and Michael Oard discussed the evidence for such a site in Korea in TJ 17(1), 2003, suggesting that much of the supposed vertical stratigraphy could be explained by a few events occurring laterally in area but simultaneously in time. Much of the evidence from this Korean site fits better with a catastrophic Flood event than with a slow, gradual deposition. Discussion on dinosaur trackways, egg nests, etc. can also be found in TJ 10(1), TJ 12(1), TJ 16(2), TJ 17(2) and Creation Research Society Quarterly 32(1). For more information on dinosaur nests, read The Extinction of the dinosaurs, by Michael Oard.

In his summing up, Dr Wieland outlined the importance of the issue for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, see Here’s the Good News.

Willis

For more on information in living things, see Information Theory Q&A. The total information is not easy to measure with one standard ‘ruler’, but that does not mean there is not a huge amount of information (specified complexity) in living things. See How is information content measured? And the issue was in any case never the total information but rather the following concepts:

  1. That to get from a single-cell ancestor to a modern-day mammal, for example, would involve a huge net increase of information;
  2. That neo-Darwinism requires that many information-increasing mutations be identifiable in today’s world.
  3. That it utterly fails this test.

A link for an analysis of the supposed dino-bird fossils was given earlier that answers Dr Willis’s claims.

Regarding the claim that Martin Luther did not believe a literal Genesis, see Luther on Evolution and What was Martin Luther’s stand on Creation/Evolution?

Regarding the claim that a person could be a good Christian while accepting evolution see Q&A:Genesis—Why goo-to-you Evolution and Biblical Christianity are logically incompatible. (Note that we have never said that it is impossible to be a Christian and believe in evolution; our founding chairman, Professor John Rendle-Short, was a theistic evolutionist while undoubtedly a Christian, for 30 years. He wishes he could go back and have that time again to ‘undo all the damage’. See From (theistic) evolution to creation.)


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