Biased answers to simplistic questions?

This letter from Jack (USA) illustrates a common problem of negative feedback that CMI receives, i.e. violating our reasonable feedback rules—in this case, the rule of no unsupported allegations. Generalized denunciations, without specifics, provide no basis for genuine interaction. Had Jack read much of the information on this website, even on the feedback pages alone, he might not believe in the mythical creature known as an unbiased observer; we have repeatedly shown that there is no such thing. Dr Jonathan Sarfati of Creation Ministries International, whose comments are interspersed, responds. Ellipses (…) signal that a mid-sentence comment follows, not an omission. Letters with unsubstantiated allegations or personal attacks generally will not be published or even responded to.

i've been looking into your "answers" with respect to creation and evolution. frankly, i am saddened by the lack of honesty and dignity i found.

At the moment, this is pure assertion. If you are truly seeking answers, you are not approaching this in the right way, making disparaging comments without any specific examples. We value truth and integrity highly, being followers of the One who is ‘the way and the truth and the life’ (John 14:6), and who commanded us not to lie. So, if you have any real examples of statements we have made that are dishonest in any way, please specify them so we can correct them. [And as a guideline for future writers, it is insufficient to assert ‘Your claim ABC was refuted on website XYZ’ without explaining how it was refuted.] However, we have noticed that sweeping denunciations are often a smoke-screen in an attempt to avoid the uncomfortable implications of our message (that we all need to humbly submit to our Creator, accepting his forgiveness through Jesus Christ).

you provide what claim to be scholarly responses …

This is our aim, but we are fallible. However, you have not shown us where our responses are unscholarly.

… to overly simplistic questions.

Actually, simple questions are usually the best ones, and also the ones to answer clearly. And these are the questions people actually ask.

upon close review these responses are loaded not with objective information but with poorly written, …

Of course this is subjective to a large extent, but all readers of this site can judge for themselves.

biased reactions …

We have never denied being biased. We often point out that all people have biases, including evolutionists, most of whom are strongly biased in favour of materialism. For example, see this admission by Lewontin.

… to valid criticisms of the claims of ‘scientific creationism’.

Which criticisms are valid (and have true premises)? I know of none.

also, in your "answers" to the questions of coal deposits i felt insulted. you provide not one answer, but several possible answers. which is it?

Why is this a problem, having several possible answers, all consistent with the available data and Scripture? We don’t have all the information (nobody does), but as more data become available we might be able to decide which answer is correct, or maybe even an answer not previously thought of. But our general thesis still stands—coal deposits are not a problem for the biblical worldview. Evolutionists have many and varied (and often contradictory) theories as to what caused the extinction of dinosaurs, so I suppose you are ‘insulted’ by this as well? They also propose diametrically opposed theories on other issues, e.g. did evolution happen gradually or jerkily, did birds evolve from dinosaurs or another type of reptile? But they close ranks against creationists and say that they have no doubt that evolution occurred, and that the only disagreement is about the mechanism.

The difference between creationists and evolutionists is that there are a number of creationist alternatives consistent with both the Bible and available evidence, while the supporters of various evolutionary camps score mortal blows against the other camp. E.g. supporters of ‘jerky’ evolution (saltationism and its relative, punctuated equilibria) point out that the fossil record does not show gradualism, and that the hypothetical transitional forms would be disadvantageous. But supporters of gradual evolution point out that large, information-increasing changes are so improbable that one would need to invoke a secular miracle. Creationists agree with both: punctuational evolution can’t happen, and gradual evolution can’t happen—in fact, particles-to-people evolution can’t happen at all!

are you telling me that the bible is so vague as to allow for conjecture on such issues?

The Bible teaches ‘true truth’, not exhaustive truth, as Francis Schaeffer pointed out. So we should not be dogmatic about things not deducible from Scripture. If the Bible explained absolutely everything, and answered every possible objection that a skeptic could raise, then even an oil tanker would be insufficient to carry it!

is this the same bible which is so specific on the question of the morality of abortion?

Yes. The Bible is able to thoroughly equip man for every good work (2 Tim. 3:15-17). This does not preclude it speaking with authority on everything it touches, whether faith, morality, history, geography or science, because Jesus said ‘Scripture cannot be broken’ (John 10:35). And while it is not a science textbook (for one thing, textbooks always have mistakes and quickly become outdated!), it provides a framework for interpreting data. In fact, it historically provided the inspiration for the very practice of experimental science itself, because science can work only in an orderly universe, and it was belief in an orderly Creator that provided this foundation. Neither atheism nor Buddhism can provide such a foundation.

my faith and devotion are in serious trouble.

May I ask: faith in what and devotion to what? After all, over the centuries, many people have claimed to have refuted the Bible, but later on, answers were found. The Hittites were once thought to be a biblical myth, but their enormous ancient capital Hattusa was discovered at modern Boghazköy. Archaeology has also vindicated the Bible regarding the war of four kings vs. five in Gen. 14 and Belshazzar’s kingship in Daniel 5, and in many other areas where skeptics have claimed the Bible was wrong (usually on the incredibly illogical basis that there was no known extra-biblical evidence for event x—absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence!). The archaeologist Sir William Ramsay started investigating Luke’s Gospel with the assumption that Luke was mistaken in many areas. But Ramsay discovered time and time again that Luke was absolutely precise about place names and the many varied titles of rulers. Ramsay concluded:

Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy … this author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians. [W. Ramsay, Bearing of Recent Discoveries on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament, Baker, Grand Rapids, Michigan, p. 222, 1953.]

In our own field, some people’s faith in the Bible was challenged by Piltdown Man, Haeckel’s frauds purporting to demonstrate embryonic recapitulation theory and embryonic similarities, and the peppered moth photos, all now known to be fakes.

It would make more sense to trust the Bible than your own limited understanding of the natural world. This is not blind faith, because the Bible has been vindicated time and time again.

i have been asking many questions and the answers that i find in the bible are not making much sense in the face of the answers i find in the natural world.

But what answers can be found in the natural world, really, because nature doesn’t comprise propositions? To provide propositional truth, the data must always be interpreted in some framework, and the framework depends largely on the axioms. CMI unashamedly starts with the axioms of Scripture, while evolutionists start with the axiom of materialism. But the data are the same for both—we don’t deny a single observation by an evolutionist, but interpret it in a different framework. Maybe if you started with the axioms of Scripture, things would begin to make more sense—the Bible will never make sense within the framework of materialism. This is part of what repentance is all about—the Greek metanoia means a change of mind—i.e. willingly taking on God’s way of thinking (that is, agreeing that God is right and you are wrong). Being ‘born again’ involves becoming a new person, with a whole new way of looking at things (2 Cor. 5:17). Jesus said you cannot put new wine into old wineskins—you are trying to put the new wine into the old, hardened, crusty, stiff, dead corpse of materialism. It’s no wonder it does not work! It’s like trying to mix fire and water.

perhaps i'm just missing something.

Yes, perhaps. The Bible says, ‘Seek the Lord while He may be found’ (Isaiah 55:6). Without God, nothing makes sense (cf. Proverbs 1:7, Proverbs 9:10) .

Published: 1 February 2006