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William Lane Craig flubs on the Flood

wikipedia.orgWilliam-Lane-Craig
William Lane Craig

Genesis compromiser again deceives about biblical creationist views

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Published: 21 May 2020 (GMT+10)

William Lane Craig is one of the best-known Christian apologists in the world today, and has successfully debated many christophobes. Those presentations are instructive, because Craig systematically presents deep arguments in only a few areas. And even though his opponents know just what Craig will present, they have been unable to present sound arguments against them. This has made him very popular in Christian circles.

Unfortunately, one of his apologetics methods uses the big bang, which entails billions of years. For a long time, he stuck to his strengths and was quite low-key in defending long ages.

But in more recent years, he has openly attacked biblical (‘young-earth’) creationists. His attacks show that he has failed to do his homework. We can be sure that if one of his atheistic debate opponents had been so sloppy, Craig would have nailed him.

I suggest new readers check my critiques William Lane Craig’s intellectually dishonest attack on biblical creationists and William Lane Craig contra The Genesis Account for more details.

Since then, Dr Craig has branched out even further from his fields of expertise, and attacked biblical creationist views on astronomy, the Flood, speciation, and dinosaurs. He has seriously misrepresented creationist claims and arguments, and sometimes the misrepresentation is so egregious that one must wonder whether this misrepresentation is deliberate.

Sometimes Craig gets it right, even on Genesis

In an overall inaccurate article on the Genesis 5 and 11 (chrono)genealogies,1 he has a few things right. For example, against an anti-Masoretic, pro-Septuagint conspiracy theorist, he replied:

I would just say that when you read Old Testament commentaries on Genesis, I think that I’ve never seen anyone yet disagree with the priority of the Masoretic text. Everyone seems to think (that I’ve read, and I’ve read quite a few) that the Septuagint text (that’s the Greek text of the Old Testament; that’s not the original language—that’s a Greek translation) and then the Samaritan text of the Pentateuch—everybody seems to think that those numbers have been changed because of these difficulties. But, as you indicate, everything is open for discussion.

Research by CMI scholars likewise supports the Masoretic text as original—and they also reject anti-Septuagint conspiracy theorizing even to prove a position we agree with (as CMI rejects conspiratorial thinking in general and other types of inadvisable arguments).

Another questioner clearly held outdated views such as no rain before the Flood, and that different pre-Flood conditions could have resulted in longer pre-Flood lifespans. Craig responded:

I don’t think that there’s anything in the text that indicates that the laws of nature changed before and after the Flood that would allow people to live longer. And here I might appeal to Jonathan Sarfati, who is himself a Young Earth Creationist who has written a commentary on Genesis 1–11. Sarfati himself argues against Young Earthers who say that somehow the antediluvian conditions were different that enabled people to live for centuries and then after the Flood somehow they changed. There just doesn’t seem to be anything in the text to support that, much less in science.

This shows that Craig can correctly represent a creationist argument when it suits him. For those who have not read The Genesis Account (which should include no one reading this site ), the relevant parts are extracted in Why don’t we live as long as Methuselah?

But there are other parts in this article where he is not so good. These don’t come under misrepresentations, but rather ignoring answers in the same book. E.g.

Student: … Genesis 6:3 – what do you think about that verse where it says “God says my spirit will not abide and man forever for he is flesh but his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.”
Wikipedia.orgHugh-Ross
Hugh Ross
Dr. Craig: That is presented as the reason for the diminished lifespans of the postdiluvians. God has said, I’m not going to put up with these people in the same way and now their lifespans are going to be diminished to no more than 120 years. That would be the rationale. Maybe that would help to answer an earlier question about what’s the theological point that’s being made here by the diminished lifespans. Maybe it underlines the sinfulness of mankind and how their lives need to be shortened lest they utterly destroy the world and civilization.

Progressive creationist and fellow compromiser Hugh Ross has also taught that Genesis 6:3 teaches this,2 and some biblical creationists have also thought the same. But in The Genesis Account, p. 481, I respond:

But this cannot be right, because people lived past 120 for many years past this time. Even in modern times, the Frenchwoman Jeanne Louise Calment (21 February 1875–4 August 1997) lived to 122 years and 164 days. She was very fit for a large part of this, taking up fencing at 85 and riding her bicycle till her 100th birthday.
No, the 120 years was the time from this intermarriage till God would wipe out most of mankind in the Flood. Hamilton explains:
Is this an age limit, or is it a period of grace prior to the Flood (i.e., his [remaining] days shall be 120 years)? The first alternative faces the difficulty that most of the people in the rest of Genesis lived well beyond 120 years. It is possible to interpret the longer life spans of the patriarchs as mitigation or suspension of the divine penalty, just as an earlier announced divine penalty (“on the day you eat of it you shall surely die”) was not immediately implemented.
But the (imminent) withdrawal of the divine Spirit as a means of lowering the life span of humanity does not make a great deal of sense. Rather, it seems to presage some event that is about to occur. Accordingly, we prefer to see in this phrase a reference to a period of time that prefaces the Flood’s beginning. It is parallel to Jonah 3:4, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” God’s hand of judgment is put on hold.3

Evolution in Genesis?

In another podcast a few days earlier,4 Craig makes a number of mistakes.

First, he tries to read evolution into Genesis:

I think it’s evident that unless one adopts the literal Young Earth Creationist interpretation, Genesis 1 doesn’t really say anything about how God created life on Earth. The Genesis account doesn’t really explain anything about the mechanisms by which God created. In fact, in two places, as we’ve seen, the account says that God declared let the Earth bring forth (in one case vegetation and in the other case terrestrial animals) suggesting that there may indeed be natural causes in bringing these things forth. So it seems to me that unless we adopt the Young Earth Creationist’s literal interpretation, there is no incompatibility between Genesis 1 and scientific theories about the origin and evolution of life.

Of course, Genesis doesn’t say anything about God’s mechanisms for creation, because there are no mechanisms for miraculous creation. God spoke, and it was so! The details are also wrong. Evolution states that life began in the sea; the Bible says it was land plants. And this was before God created the sun. Furthermore, the plants were to reproduce after their kinds, not one kind evolving into a different kind, and the creation of kinds was finished by the close of Day 3. Thus early Christian writers such as Augustine and Basil saw this as instantaneous creation, since God as the creator of time needs no time. This is the antithesis of evolution over vast eons. Basil was clearer that the days were 24 hours long, but that the creative acts were instantaneous, and that plants preceded the sun:

Speaking of Day 3: ‘“Let the earth”, the Creator adds, “bring forth the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself.” At this command every copse was thickly planted; all the trees, fir, cedar, cypress, pine, rose to their greatest height, the shrubs were straightway clothed with thick foliage.’ (Homily V:6)

‘“Let the earth bring forth.” This short command was in a moment a vast nature, an elaborate system. Swifter than thought it produced the countless qualities of plants.’ (Homily V:10)

‘“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to divide the day from the night”. Heaven and earth were the first; after them was created light; the day had been distinguished from the night, then had appeared the firmament and the dry element. The water had been gathered into the reservoir assigned to it, the earth displayed its productions, it had caused many kinds of herbs to germinate and it was adorned with all kinds of plants. However, the sun and the moon did not yet exist, in order that those who live in ignorance of God may not consider the sun as the origin and the father of light, or as the maker of all that grows out of the earth. That is why there was a fourth day, and then God said: “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven.”‘ (Homily VI:2)

This is similar to what one (polite) questioner at a recent creation conference claimed. He somehow saw evolution in Genesis 1:20. The passage, he claimed, said that fish and birds evolved in the seas. Note that the latter might be read into the KJV translation:

And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

But more modern translations more clearly disconnect the birds from the seas, e.g. CMI’s current standard ESV:

And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.”

In any case, the same arguments against evolution apply, and more. For example, evolutionists believe that cetaceans, ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs, pliosaurs, and mosasaurs evolved from land reptiles. God created land animals on Day 6, but the creation of all kinds of land and sea creatures was finished by the close of Day 5. Similarly, even if birds coming from the sea is read into Genesis 1:20, evolutionists believe they evolved from land creatures. So where is there room in Genesis for the supposed land creature intermediates? This is yet another example of how Genesis contradicts the evolutionary/uniformitarian time scale not only in time frame and detail, but also in the order of events. Like many evolution appeasers in the Church, Craig doesn’t seem to have many clues about what he is appeasing.

Furthermore, CMI has explained at length why evolution is incompatible with the Bible, not least the problem of human and animal death before Adam’s sin. But Craig ignores all that, to propose two poor ideas—anything but believe what the Bible teaches.

If we do adopt the Young Earth Creationist interpretation then it seems we have no choice but to radically revise the doctrine of inspiration so that the text either (1) is consistent with teaching error – that though inspired, the Scriptures teach error, or (2) we could say that the antiquated science and history in Scripture is not part of the teachings of Scripture so that Scripture is not in error in what it teaches but it doesn’t teach the antiquated science and history that is found in Genesis 1–11.

The first, “though inspired, the Scriptures teach error,” makes no sense. God doesn’t inspire error! The second, pretending that Scripture doesn’t teach what it clearly does in Genesis 1–11 makes no sense. The rest of the Bible’s authors and Jesus Christ clearly took Genesis as history.

Then Craig proceeds to hurl lots of elephants:

For Young Earth Creationism is not merely incompatible with evolutionary biology; rather, as creation scientists themselves recognize, Young Earth Creationism is in massive conflict with modern science, history, and linguistics. They therefore have to propose an utterly different alternative science and history that is frequently bizarre. I don’t want to dwell on the negatives in this class but those of you who are tempted by creation science should understand just how wild it is. You need to look at it with open eyes.

We recognize no such thing. There is not a single observation in real science or linguistics that we dispute. That’s why most of the founders of modern science were creationists, and why even today we have creationist nuclear and other physicists, chemists, geologists, paleontologists, geneticists, medical doctors, engineers, and biochemists—and linguists. We certainly dispute the materialistic framework of history in which observations are interpreted.

Distant starlight

But Craig hopes to get into specifics, and zeroes in on the supposedly insoluble distant starlight problem:

The idea that the universe is only six to ten thousand years old would not only force us to abandon modern geology, paleontology, archaeology, and dating techniques, but it would make it impossible for us even to see the stars at night since light has not had sufficient time to travel from the stars to Earth. In order to explain a fact so simple as that we can see the stars at night Young Earth Creationists have had to propose implausible alternative cosmologies. For example, some have said that the universe is an expanding rotating ball of matter in empty space with our solar system located at its center. Now, never mind that such a model fails to deliver on its promises of how we can see starlight coming from galaxies that are billions of light years away, the more fundamental point that I’m making is that Young Earth Creationists, in order to explain a phenomenon so simple as that you can see the stars at night, are forced to revamp the entire universe.

As usual, such critics ignore the fact that the big bangers have their own ‘distant starlight’ problem. This is the horizon problem, which as New Scientist admitted in 13 things that do not make sense (19 March 2005, updated 14 April 2009):

This “horizon problem” is a big headache for cosmologists, so big that they have come up with some pretty wild solutions. “Inflation”, for example. You can solve the horizon problem by having the universe expand ultra-fast for a time, just after the big bang, blowing up by a factor of 1050 in 10–33 seconds. But is that just wishful thinking?

Inflation, involving faster-than-light expansion of space, is indeed a fudge factor, as secular cosmogonist and big-bang critic Eric Lerner says. Big bangers have no plausible mechanism for starting or stopping it, and gravity must run in reverse to repel rather than attract. Others have proposed that light itself was much faster in the past. So for all Craig’s bluff about creationists being undone simply by the speed of light from stars, the big bang proposes either faster-than-light space expansion, or “faster-than-light” light.

Craig also ignores that the current creationist models all involve cutting edge real science, in particular Einsteinian relativity, both special and general. My 2018 article summarizes some of the latest ones, with links to more detail.

One might try to defend Craig by saying that he is simply not aware of all the creation models and answers that deal with his straw man objections. He claims to be an apologist and a theologian, but then seemingly doesn’t bother to study the very thing he is criticizing. Can you imagine if creationists didn’t understand evolution before the latter was critiqued? As such, one does get the impression that these are false arguments designed to malign the creationist position on the presumption that most people will just take his word for it, sadly. In short, this is not acceptable.

Craig on the Flood

Craig continued:

It doesn’t just stop there. Take for example the attempt to explain away the Earth’s sedimentation on the basis of so-called flood geology – Noah’s Flood. The idea that there was ever a worldwide flood that destroyed all terrestrial life on Earth and laid down the Earth’s sediments is a fantasy.

The author of Genesis, as well as the NT authors and Jesus Himself, would beg to differ.

For a devastating critique of flood geology I would just commend to you Hugh Ross’ Navigating Genesis in which he has one chapter devoted to a scientific critique of flood geology.

Good grief, Craig must be really desperate to appeal to someone as demonstrably unreliable as Hugh Ross. See some of his latest bluffs. In any case, Navigating Genesis: A Scientist’s Journey through Genesis 1–11, is basically an updated version of The Genesis Question (1998), which I reviewed at the time, including its local flood arguments. Refuting Compromise has a whole chapter refuting Ross’s attacks on a global Flood, which he ignores. The Genesis Account, which Craig acts as if he has read, also explains both the scientific and biblical evidence for a global Flood.

The new version barely interacts with critics, or with creationist geologists. But CMI contributor Fred Butler has reviewed Navigating Genesis in depth, including the local flood chapter.5

Craig relies on Ross’s local flood fallacies

By Duk, CC BY-SA 3.0, commons.wikimedia.orgGrand-Coulee
The Grand Coulee, 80 km (50 miles) long, up to 9 km (6 miles) wide, and 275 m (900 ft) deep. This was carved by the Lake Missoula Flood. Hugh Ross’s proposed local flood would have been more powerful, but he claims that it left no trace.

It’s also notable that Craig is blind to the impossibility of the Rossite Flood. Ross believes in a geographically local but anthropologically universal Flood. That is, he believes the Flood was in the Mesopotamian valley, but wiped out all humanity not on the Ark. When did this occur? According to his website:

These three beliefs have led Ross to suggest that Noah’s flood transpired around 50,000 years ago.6

But Ross also believes the following about Adam:

RTB holds that all humans (including the Australian Aborigines and American Indians) descended from Adam and Eve, who were a historical couple existing sometime between 6,000 and 100,000 years ago.7

This entails that Adam and Eve could have existed after the Flood he claims was 50,000 years ago. He needs to get his story straight! Well, he tried to, in a newer article on the site:

The consistency of these three independent lines of evidence instills some confidence that Adam and Eve lived somewhere between 50,000 and 150,000 years ago.8

We have already noted how Ross has changed his dates over the years, desperately trying to keep up with secular claims. But he can’t cope with radiometrically ‘dated’ Homo sapiens in Ethiopia to 195,000 years old (though elsewhere he has appealed to radiometric dating). Ethiopia is outside Mesopotamia last time I checked, so these fossils show that humans were living outside the region of the Rossian flood that was supposed to wipe out all humanity.

Another absurdity of the Rossian flood was that it left no trace:

The Flood, though massive, lasted but one year and ten days. A flood of such brief duration typically does not leave a deposit substantial enough to be positively identified thousands of years later.9

But if so, then the same argument applies to those of tranquil flood theories in general: 2 Peter 3:3–6 holds “scoffers” culpable because they “deliberately ignore this fact, … the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished.” But if this Deluge left no trace, then they would have a good excuse for being unaware of this.

Also, as John Woodmorappe pointed out long ago, even the Rossian flood would have been far more powerful than the Lake Missoula Flood, near the end of the Ice Age. But far from leaving no trace, the latter flood left a huge amount of evidence, such as the Grand Coulee, which is 80 km (50 miles) long, up to 9 km (6 miles) wide, and 275 m (900 ft) deep. So it beggars belief that an even more powerful flood would have not left any identifiable trace.

Even geographically, the Rossian flood makes no sense. One major problem is that the geography of Mesopotamia is a half-bowl open to the south. Since the Rossian flood requires a wall of water ~100 m,10 what would hold it up for a year, and stop it flowing out to the Indian Ocean? But the Ark ended up in the mountains of Ararat, in the opposite direction, and also somehow levitated another 100 m.

So just like with the distant starlight problem, Craig is not only unaware of creationist answers to his views, but also of the glaring weaknesses in his own. Perhaps he is trying to shore up support for his arguments using the ancient Hindu proverb, “Enemy of my enemy is my friend.”11

Craig and Ross on the Ark animals

And in this and other books, including A Matter of Days, Ross also deceitfully attacks creationist views on the Ark animals and speciation. In my review at the time of the relevant chapter of the book, I exposed his many distortions, many from overt atheopathic hatchet jobs on the Ark that still do the rounds. Adding to Ross’ distortions, seven years after this and another review of A Matter of Days, Ross claimed:

Sarfati and the rest of the young-earth creationist community have yet to respond to, or even acknowledge the existence of, A Matter of Days, despite the book’s having resided at the top of Amazon.com’s list of “books young-earth creationists do not want you to read.”

It seems that Craig has parroted some of Ross’ claims, as seen by his continuation:

Just how bizarre Young Earth Creationism is becomes evident from reading Jonathan Sarfati’s Young Earth Creationist commentary on Genesis 1–11. In order to explain flood geology Sarfati supposes that after the flood the animals that Noah had taken on board disembark and then filled the entire world. Now, how do you suppose that the hippopotami on board made it from the mountains of Turkey where the ark landed to the rivers of Central Africa or how the little koala bears and platypuses crawled all the way from Turkey to Australia or the sloths to South America.

We can expect such dishonest distortion from atheists, but we shouldn’t expect it from a Christian apologist. One of CMI’s core books, the Creation Answers Book, includes Chapter 17: How did the animals get to Australia? which covers:

  • How did animals get to Australia?
  • How did the animals get from remote countries to the Ark?
  • After the Flood, did kangaroos hop all the way to Australia?
  • What did koalas eat on the way?

The book explains that over a number of generations, many animals traversed land bridges during the Ice Age—which was caused by the Genesis Flood (as the previous chapter explains). Similarly, a single pair of rabbits or red foxes didn’t need to cross from one side of Australia to another. Animals can also cross vast stretches of water on natural rafts, which sometimes happens in modern times. Craig also overlooks the huge problems of world animal and plant distributions for evolutionary assumptions, including continental drift.

So those are my real answers. But what does Craig claim my answer would be?

Well, Sarfati’s answer is that plate tectonics had not yet separated the supercontinent into the world’s separate continents thus enabling the animals to migrate to their various habitats. But they had to do it in a hurry. All the continental drift and mountain building such as the raising of Mount Everest all took place rapidly since the flood just a few thousand years ago.

Here, it’s hard to believe that his misrepresentation is not intentional. The Genesis Account was very clear that the separation of continents occurred during the Flood (Ch. 18). And this has long been CMI’s preferred position: that catastrophic plate tectonics was a major cause of the Flood, not something that happened after the Flood.12

Furthermore, earlier I had explicitly rejected a continental division after the Flood during the “days of Peleg” (which actually refers to the division of “the whole earth (erets) had one language and one speech” (Genesis 11:1), i.e. Babel), partly because:

However, such splitting would most likely lead to another global flood! But in Genesis 9:13-15, God formed a rainbow to indicate there would be no repeat of ‘a Flood to destroy all flesh.’ This gives us the clue as to when the continents did move apart—during Noah’s Flood—see What about continental drift? from the Creation Answers Book.

Dinosaurs

Craig of course swallows the usual evolutionary agitprop that dinosaurs died out 66 million years ago, so long before man existed (although Jesus said man was there “from the beginning of creation”). So he has no time for the biblical Ark account:

What about the dinosaurs, you might ask? Well, since they were contemporaneous with Noah he must have taken them on board the ark, too. Sarfati solves the problem of room on board by suggesting that Noah took juvenile specimens—two of every genus. Not two of every species; two of every genus. Now, since there were at least 500 dinosaur genera, Noah must have had at least a thousand dinosaurs on board the ark which he then released into the world upon disembarkation.
Dinosaur-growth-spurts

Of course not two of every species. It is unfortunately typical of atheistic bibliophobes to overload the Ark with loads of ‘species’. They also frequently include creatures that weren’t part of the cargo that God mandated to Noah. Noah had to take only land vertebrates on board, i.e. animals with a backbone—so no fish, plants, insects, or Congressmen 😊

Ross has parroted these objections, and now Craig has parroted Ross. The main difference is that Craig is fine with biological evolution, while Ross goes to the equally unbiblical opposite extreme of ‘fixity of species’, held by Darwin’s mentor Charles Lyell.

But in The Genesis Account, I explained extensively why the biblical kind is much broader than the ‘species’. I further explained how mountainous regions—such as where the Ark landed—are ideal for rapid allopatric speciation, because of the geographical isolation of small populations. Furthermore, “two of every genus”, including dinosaurs, is well within the Ark’s carrying capacity, as documented in Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study. Dinosaurs were likely on board as juveniles, before their massive growth spurt that has been documented from growth rings in their bones. And it is quite likely that the kind was as high as the ‘family’ in most cases, meaning even fewer creatures needed to embark.

Craig is also blissfully unaware of how dinosaurs are actually a real problem for evolution. While dinosaurs are extinct today, the overview article Can dinosaurs falsify evolution? summarizes two lines of evidence for dinosaurs living much more recently than 66 million years ago, with links for further information and documentation:

  1. Clear evidence that humans must have seen dinosaurs, both biblical (Behemoth) and secular
  2. Soft tissue, proteins, DNA, and radiocarbon in dino bones, which could not have lasted millions of years.13

Only this year, researchers including Mary Schweitzer discovered cartilage from a hadrosaur (Hypacrosaurus) ‘dated’ to 70 million years, with relatively intact DNA.14 But real experimental science shows that DNA would be totally fragmented into single nucleotides (building blocks) after 6.8 million years, even frozen at -5°C. The diagnostic test for DNA requires, according to the paper, double-stranded DNA at least 6 nucleotides long.

Conclusion

It’s a pity when a famous apologist like Craig switches from defending and proclaiming Christianity to appeasing uniformitarian science. It is no accident that the quality of his arguments has also gone badly downhill. Much of this is sloppiness and failure to address the strongest arguments for the opposing side. Unfortunately, some of his arguments seem to be intentional knocking down of straw men.

References and notes

  1. Craig, W.L., Excursus on Creation of Life and Biological Diversity (Part 16): Genealogies in Genesis 1–11 (continued), Podcast transcript, reasonablefaith.org, 12 Jun 2019. Return to text.
  2. Ross, H.N., The Genesis Question, Ch. 15, 1998, 2001. Return to text.
  3. Hamilton, V.P., The Book of Genesis, chapters 1–17, p. 269, 1990. Return to text.
  4. Craig, W.L., Excursus on Creation of Life and Biological Diversity (Part 27): Scientific Evidence Pertinent to the Origin and Evolution of Biological Complexity, Podcast transcript, reasonablefaith.org, 9 Sep 2019. Return to text.
  5. Butler, F., Reviewing Navigating Genesis, hipandthigh.wordpress.com, 13 Sep 2017. Return to text.
  6. Bontrager, K., Biblical Foundation for RTB’s Flood Model, https://reasons.org, 1 Jun 2011. Return to text.
  7. Zweering, J., RTB’s Position on Humanity and Hominids, reasons.org, 4 July 2007. Return to text.
  8. Age of Adam, reasons.org, accessed 13 Feb 2020. Return to text.
  9. Ross, Ref. 2, p. 159. Return to text.
  10. Ross, Ref. 2, pp. 159–160. Return to text.
  11. The principle, albeit not that exact expression, was first recorded in the 4th-century BC Sanskrit treatise of politics, war, and economics called the Arthasastra (book 6), by the royal adviser and philosopher Kautilya (Chanakya):
    The king who is situated anywhere immediately on the circumference of the conqueror’s territory is termed the enemy.
    The king who is likewise situated close to the enemy, but separated from the conqueror only by the enemy, is termed the friend (of the conqueror).
    Return to text.
  12. Not just CMI’s preferred position. After The Genesis Account was first published, ICR geologist Dr Tim Clarey wrote Empirical data support seafloor spreading and catastrophic plate tectonics, J Creation 30(1):76–82, 2016. Return to text.
  13. There is a maintained spreadsheet on ‘ancient’ soft tissue and biomolecule discoveries, available from RSR Reports on ICR’s Fresh Fossils, kgov.com. Summary, from Joel Tay:

    There are currently 111 publications cataloging original biomaterial in ‘ancient’ fossils. Of these, 54 papers spanning 29 journals (see cell A169) deal specifically with dinosaurs biomaterial. The current record holder is from ‘2.5 billion year old’ algal and bacterial organic molecules (see cell D83).
    Return to text.
  14. Bailleul, A.M. and 5 others,, Evidence of proteins, chromosomes and chemical markers of DNA in exceptionally preserved dinosaur cartilage, National Science Review, nwz206, 12 Jan 2020 | doi:10.1093/nsr/nwz206. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

Readers’ comments

Stephen G.
1 Corinthians 4:7—“what do you have that you did not receive?”
It’s most unfortunate for WLC that God is “no respecter of persons.” All the effort, the degrees, the PhDs but no love for God’s truth. How many ‘lesser’ Christians in the world’s (and even our) eyes will be rewarded above WLC?
However, WLC used to be more sceptical of evolution (citing Michael Denton) if not long ages. Why do you think he’s become so obstinate?
Jonathan Sarfati
See this quote from Todd Beall, Ph.D., Professor of Old Testament, Capital Bible Seminary, Lanham, MD and the related articles.
Rob S.
Most likely, since Craig thinks six 24-hour days, 6000 years ago is a joke, he doesn’t see anything wrong with having a bit of fun with a few misrepresentations of the creationist position.
He feels he won’t have to give an account of himself for being a bit intellectually ‘loose’ towards what he believes is only a false interpretation and a joke anyway.
He may well even think of it as a duty towards God to treat the subject as a public joke, and to not give it undue credibility by taking it too seriously.

But, as with all theistic evolutionists, he is heading towards a Job moment, i.e when God started to talk, Job stopped talking, and listened.
Brandon E.
Someone above mentioned Frank Turek to compare him to Craig. First of all, I don't believe Turek or Craig are apostates, unlike possibly Hugh Ross. They actually work to defend the gospel. Second, Turek does not believe in evolution (says there is no evidence, and he's right). He does believe in the big bang, which I chalk up to ignorance or ignoring the solid creationist materials from AIG and CMI. It saddens me that so many Christians are blinded by straw men and don't take the time to actually engage current creationist literature. I've been reading this stuff since 2004, and there is no excuse not to trust what the bible says in Genesis, given the evidence that supports it.
Jonathan Sarfati
Actually, as explained in Emotional highs are not enough!:

But likely thanks to our ministry in churches, which is possible thanks to your support, our material is getting to unexpected places. One example is a recent debate between Christian apologist Frank Turek and atheist Michael Shermer, Is Morality Better Explained by God or Science? Although Turek opposes biblical (‘young earth’) creation, he used a clip from our DVD Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels on the Darwinian basis for the Nazi Holocaust.
Turek, F., Turek–Shermer Debate: Is Morality Better Explained by God or Science? crossexamined.org, 25 April 2015 (about 42:15 into the video). Amusingly (but truthfully), Turek refers to my comments as “a Jewish man explaining what Hitler did.”
Tim W.
The question was asked about the pre and post-Flood ages of men, and what caused the change.
Some say the waters above all fell down, so exposing us to extra radiation.
But there is a more likely explanation.
When the basement rocks of the pre-Flood earth were ripped apart by the massive tectonic forces unleashed at that time, something called the piezoelectric effect was seen.
We know this today from our everyday experience, as when igniting the gas stove with a tool which generates a spark by compressing a crystal.
This energy did many things, amongst which were
1. The radioactive species present in the rocks had their outer electrons knocked off; this destabilizes the nuclei and causes rapid radioactive decay; thus the apparently great ages of these rocks when viewed from the perspective of their present-day decay rates.
( We know they are not as old as they appear to be because of the high concentrations of helium found in the zircon crystals used to study these things.)
Note also; the deepest sedimentary layers deposited at that time would have been exposed to this Brehmstrahlung radiation for longer than later-deposited layers, thus the deeper layers appearing to be older than the more superficial layers.
And 2; these same electrons would have caused double-strand DNA breaks in any human exposed to them, and as we know that DS breaks cannot be repaired, then these mutations would have been passed down to the next generation and so on.
Thus the decrease in lifespan from that time onwards.
Jonathan Sarfati
Before I respond to the specifics, as I explained in Why don’t we live as long as Methuselah?, any explanation for decreasing lifespans must explain why Noah had the third-longest recorded. Since he lived over a third of his life after the Flood, an environmental change after the Flood somehow left him alone. It must also explain Shem’s lifespan—he was conceived before the Flood, so we can’t invoke some post-Flood genetic damage at his conception.

The piezo-electric effect seems implausible, sorry. Centrosymmetric minerals don’t have this effect, rock is insulating, and any massive voltages would have left some effect. Also, to make a very big difference to decay rates, the inner electrons need to be stripped—see Billion-fold acceleration of radioactivity demonstrated in laboratory. Changes to the outer shell has only a small effect, and only on small atoms where the electrons are comparatively close to the nucleus (relatively speaking; the nucleus is only about 10-5 the size of the atom—see Radioactive decay rate depends on chemical environment. Also, this effect applies only to beta decay, which involves the weak nuclear force, not to alpha decay, which emits helium nuclei.

Bremsstrahlung = braking radiation (from German bremsen = to brake and Strahlung = radiation), electromagnetic energy released when a charged particle loses kinetic energy as it is slowed by another. This would require a large piezo-electric current, implausible in insulating materials.
David G.
Evolution in Genesis? Well, not goo to you evolution, but variation within kinds, of course. The creation passage (Genesis 1, etc.) explicitly shows direct wilful causality by word (God's effecting of his intention); evolution calls for unintended random chemical interactions. Genesis here also teaches us something important about the Real and our relationship to it (as being in God's image). That it is not deterministic, but amenable to willful exercise of intention with a regular causality, as further amplified in Proverbs 8:22ff; it wipes out animism and materialism in one fell swoop and shows that our minds engage with the real external world in a meaningful manner. Of course, if Genesis 1 is not factual, then none of these things are taught therein.
Grahame G.
It disgusts me when Christians lie about other Christians. But even worse is when people claiming to be Christians lie about the Bible. WLC has a problem with reading God’s word because he has a vested interest in being accepted by mainstream academia. He has made a name for himself in redeeming belief in God. He is a very talented debater, not just because he has rhetorical skill and a quick mind, but because his position is built on a solid foundation in the six main arguments he uses to defend theism, and he knows the material very, very well.

If it wasn’t pride, I wouldn’t understand why he is now attacking God’s people, the truth and God’s word.

It is possible that he’s not saved, but that would be hard for me to believe considering the fruit I think I see in his life.

I pray that he realises soon that he is being extremely foolish in fighting against the clear teaching of God’s word, and even lying about what creationists teach. He is better than this, I believe. But maybe he is like his compatriot, Hugh Ross, who is a hardened liar and blinded by arrogance. Maybe he has only turned to God intellectually but is not converted.

I praise God for the ministry of CMI that stands firm against the continual avalanche of lies and deception from the world, and from many who claim to be part of the church.

May God continue to bless your faithful service.
Mitch C.
One verse where the Masoretic Text appears to be incorrect is Psalm 22:16, “… like a lion my hands and my feet.” The LXX, along with the oldest Syriac, Vulgate, Ethiopic and Arabic texts all have “… they pierced my hands and my feet.” Not only does the MT turn this passage into gibberish, but the reading “… they pierced …” is also supported by the Dead Sea Scrolls (scrolls 4Q88 Psalms and Nahal Hever Psalms), which predate the MT by about 1000 years, and in which “pierced” is clearly the meaning.
Jonathan Sarfati
You are right about this passage. Here is an interesting video and article about this Messianic Psalm in general and this passage in particular, from One For Israel: Psalm 22—The Prophecy About The Crucified Messiah. The presenters Dr Eitan Bar and Moti Vaknin are Israeli-born Messianic Jews speaking in their native Hebrew, subtitled in English. Among other things, they explain this verse:

And now, here is the interesting part!!

For the past millennia, all of our Hebrew bibles say: “Like a lion are my hands and feet.” Or, in other words: my hands and my feet are like those of a lion. It doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense, does it? 1,000 years ago, The Masoretes who made the “Masoretic text” we Israelis all have today, changed one single letter in this verse: They shortened the letter VAV (ו) into the letter YUD (י).

Originally, the text actually read: “They have mined (bore a hole) my hands and feet,” Meaning, they have pierced my hands and my feet.

Any person who reads any ancient version of the Old Testament, Such as The Septuagint or the Dead Sea Scrolls, will see for themselves that the original text doesn’t say “like a lion”, but rather “they have bored / pierced.” See the Dead Sea Scrolls, dated hundreds of years before the time of Jesus or the New Testament. They were written AT LEAST 1,200 years prior to the Masoretic text.

This description bears a remarkable resemblance to the one in Zechariah 12, verse 10: “When they look on me, on Him whom they have pierced” as well as to the description in Isaiah 53 where the Messiah is said to be “pierced for our transgressions” (Isaiah 53:5).


Stephen G.
Are there known living Christian philosophers who have not compromised on origins? JP Moreland is old Earth and Peter van Inwagen makes WLC seem the embodiment of fidelity!
Jonathan Sarfati
Not sure, sorry. The late Norman Geisler and Ravi Zacharias compromised but were not usually hostile to YECs as Craig has become.
John S.
It really doesn’t take much to show what fools atheists are, so Craig acting so scholarly is just less of a fool than atheists, but still a fool. No, I’m not going to give him any praise. I’ll go with letting him be accursed as it says in Galatians. I’ll take the good from anyone teaching, be it atheists, Muslims, or whoever shows they have good knowledge on what they’re talking about. For me, Craig does not have that much to offer. James Tour at least has a lot to offer in knowledge on biological life. Anyway, Craig is a hot air balloon way up there with not much substance inside.
Jonathan Sarfati
I think Craig had things to offer in other areas, just not in Genesis or the age of the earth. And he wasn't always so hostile to YECs. I have on record some hostile anti-YEC comments by James Tour as well, but he is very good refuting chemical evolution.

What you say about taking the good from anyone’s teaching has a long and honorable history. The Church Fathers and Medieval scholars called it “taking the gold from the Egyptians”, e.g. Augustine:

Just as the Egyptians had not only idols and grave burdens which the people of Israel detested and avoided, so also they had vases and ornaments of gold and silver and clothing which the Israelites took with them secretly when they fled, as if to put them to a better use. … In the same way all the teachings of the pagans contain not only simulated and superstitious imaginings and grave burdens of unnecessary labour, … but also liberal disciplines more suited to the uses of truth, and some most useful precepts concerning morals. Even some truths concerning the worship of the one God are discovered among them.


(De Doctrina Christiana (On Christian Doctrine), 2.40.60, AD 397–426; cited in O'Neill, T., The great myths 8: the loss of ancient learning, historyforatheists.com, 28 Mar 2020)
Michael V.
You can get a book to tell you whatever you want to believe, a test of the book will determine Truth or error. The Bible has proven itself in history and prophecy as Truth, but if it’s not what you want to hear, the voice of delusion will triumph, and God will help you on your path of choice Delusion.
Lubos C.
Great article. Long time ago from grace of Lord I recognized, that W.L. Craig is one wolf in shepherd’s cloth. Sadly, blind leads many blinds to the pit ….
Richard P.
Craig opposes Sarfati. Sarfati opposes Craig. Ross criticises CMI. CMI criticises Ross. What's the difference?
Friends, I’ll tell you what the difference is (I mean apart from the plain, simple, obvious difference that one side prefers the word of man, and the other the Word of God). Dr Sarfati, in common with all of the CMI writers, give fully-referenced quotations from those they are opposing. They allow them to speak for themselves. By contrast, it has often seemed to me that Hugh Ross and William Lane Craig (and numerous others) spout their own versions of what they oppose. They shun direct citations or references. This is straw man debating, as Don S. has said. It is not scholarly and gives the outward impression of being downright dishonest.
Mike D.
I once witnessed a debate between William Lane Craig and the atheist Lawrence Krauss. At one point Krauss challenged Craig to explain how a loving God could have allowed millions of years of death and suffering during the evolutionary process. Craig was unable to answer. Very sad to see an otherwise gifted apologist compromise with secular, materialism driven science and not be able to give true Biblical answers to these very important questions.
Vladimir S.
Apostates like Craig or Frank Turek worship science and philosophy. However he does not understand science at all and swallows facts with evolutionary assumptions. He build his arguments on Big Bang first and after that he comes back to Scripture to find out what It actually says about it. And he finds himself stuck between plain reading of Scripture and his arguments he used for long time. Pride would not let him to accept the idea that his cosmological argument was build on a wrong foundation for such a long time. It also indicates, that instead of studying the Bible, he studied philosophy.

So now he will take a huge portion of church with him to liberalism and rejection of Scripture. He puts his philosophy above the Word of God and this is called idolatry. Probably fear to be laughed at and ridiculed if he would believe in Genesis pushes him away from the plain reading of Scripture also.

I believe that CMI should be much harder on such heretics like Craig. Heresy here is not in idea of eons of time, but in death before sin. This is heresy. And as prophets in OT called apostates very harsh names as well as NT Apostles while preaching the Gospel called out for Pharisees, so we have to call them to answer on what they teach. Death before sin is a dividing line here.

They are laying down foundation for next generations to reject Gods world and thus accept another Christ, the worldly one. Eventually rejection of authority of Scripture will lead to rejection of Biblical Christ and acceptance of another Christ.
Joel L.
Creation seems to me to be one of those issues whose meaning and importance are very hard to wrap your mind around on one side, and just plain sense on the other.

Quite simply, if ‘creation’ is explicable on its own terms, then those who question accounts of the miraculous—that is, a temporary suspension of or addition to the laws of nature—are never without excuse. If it is not, then an informed skeptic is never without blame.

To be a creationist means an awareness that the woods that line the road on your drive to work are impossible—by natural law—as Lazarus walking out of his tomb!
Mike D.
Many will think I’m being too simplistic. Yet in reality it’s very simple. The Gospel message itself is basically simple too. But the key is that the Bible is either inerrant or not. If it’s inerrant, the Gospel message is True. If not totally inerrant then that leaves the whole Bible up for grabs for everyone to pick & choose and no way to know which is correct. Many places in the Bible validate Biblical inerrancy as does research in many areas. Jesus is Creator God (Colossians 1:19 etc.) and bodily form of the Word of God. It’s at start of Genesis, John 1:1–4, and Revelation 19:13. Jesus validates creation and who He is often in Scripture. So when inerrancy is rejected, then one has rejected the very foundation of the Gospel message.

I’ve never understood how one can reject the very foundation of the Gospel upon which our salvation stands. Yet then basically say the Bible is errant at the same time. How then can one be sure of your salvation? Then one has the mind of a double minded man and therefore unstable. Both can’t be true.

Craig and Ross llustrate minds of unstable men.

We must plant our flags on inerrancyfirst and keep it there immovable. When challenged & not know answer. Instead of moving flag as most do. Use sources available to find answer. You learn and further deepen your faith and as Bible instructs now learn better how 2 defend Bible and ones faith.

BTW God couldn’t make days more plain. He describes 24 hour days and counts them in numerical order. It takes twisting of verse out of context to get ages.

As Joshua 24:15 says. Choose this day whom you will serve. Jesus Son of God our Savior Creator God, Bodily form of inerrant Word of God. If you compromise inerrant Word of God then honestly not sure who you’ve chosen 2 serve. Find Where/When Jesus allows compromise and gave priority (Matthew 10:24–39 Luke 14:25).
Melvyne C.
Noel M, writes, “After studying the Flood for some time I have come to realize the YEC position is not only incorrect, but dangerous to the church.”

Jesus, one Triune God, sent the flood, worldwide (Matthew 24:38–39). Then, Jesus is dangerous to the church!!!

Jesus, one Triune God, gave the commandment, God created in six days.

Therefore, the divine law God gave from heaven on origins is dangerous to the church!!!
Don S.
Great article Dr. Sarfati. I have watched and read Dr. Craig’s work for many years, as well as yours and CMI’s. Unfortunately, I believe Dr. Craig has a mindset developed from being in the ‘scholarly community’. He has said many times that he refuses to debate other Christians, and especially YECs. Therefore, I don’t think he reads YECs. Instead, I think he reads what other scholars in his circle have written about YECs (Dr. Ross et al.) and he uses that as his factual basis. I really do not think he has read any YEC books. If He would read YEC literature, this would immediately plunge him into the dilemma of having to address the real arguments, and that would cause him to lose his scholarly status. That is a risk too large for him to contemplate. So he parrots straw-men arguments that he gets from his circle of influence rather than address this article per se.

It is equivalent to watching one news network only and filtering all of his facts through that paradigm. So he chooses not to debate YECs, because this would raise the YEC debater to his level, and that would jeopardize all of his standing in the ‘community’. So instead, he keeps good graces in the ‘community’ by parroting their arguments (straw-men) rather really addressing the real arguments. What he doesn’t understand, is the truth that most of the agnostics and atheists that watch and read his debates, still think he is losing those debates. They certainly don’t think he is winning them.
RONALD M.
We should thank the Lord for Ross, Craig, and Sarfati. Together they show that the Word of God is always true and when scholars put faith in men’s opinions instead of the Word of God, they have to repeat of fabricate anti-biblical theories in order to be accepted by their peers, as Ross and Craig very clearly have done. Every view needs to be filtered through God’s Word.
Sue T.
…one does get the impression that these are false arguments designed to malign the creationist position on the presumption that most people will just take his word for it, sadly.

Definitely. Is Craig even aware of it? Most of what he says (in the above text) is ridiculous and very simply answered/refuted if he gave it thought or a little research. e.g. Evidence for the Flood is everywhere.

“… [God] may indeed have used natural causes …”, in a compromise of Genesis. Evolution?—Seriously?! Thus, Craig must’ve opened himself up to deception, hoodwinked by Satan who then ‘speaks through him’, using this well-known personality to corrupt the vulnerable; People who are daunted by reading the Bible, The Genesis Account etc will take the easy option and swallow text that sounds correct to the layman: “… how can we see starlight coming from galaxies that are billions of light years away“ or is sensational: “hippopotami [sic], koala bears [sic], sloths and platypuses off the arc crawled ALL the way …” and “… carrying at least 1000 dinosaurs …” and blatant misquoting of (ridiculing) YECs: “… plate tectonics had not yet separated the supercontinent …” Craig’s repeated misrepresentations and/or ignorance highlighted in this passage (plus recommending Hugh Ross!) reveals a deterioration of reasoning that’s not attributable to an intelligent man.?? It’s happening more frequently as we hurtle towards the end. God does promise to allow the unwary to be misled.

CMI, I marvel at your fortitude and patience! Reading the nonsense you endure wearies me, and you still have to refute it! (Maybe you're energised by it?!) I pray God continues to uphold your faith and bless you all. What a mighty work you do!
Noel M.
Thank you for the many good comments by Craig. After studying the Flood for some time I have come to realize the YEC position is not only incorrect, but dangerous to the church. Your criticism is way off base. He may not be totally correct, but is much more aligned to the facts than the YEC position and that found in the deceptive movie Is Genesis History?
Jonathan Sarfati
You have certainly taken after your hero in evidence-free criticisms. The accurate movie Is Genesis History? featured people far more qualified in all the areas discussed than WLC—see my detailed review.

If the YEC position were really “dangerous to the church”, how did the church manage to survive for the first 1,800 years of its history when YEC was the almost-universal view?
Revd Robert W.
I greatly admire William Lane Craig and believe that he has done some tremendous work for the Christian faith. However, I agree with this article in its assessment of our dear brother. We are all on a learning curve and there is much wrong with each and every Christian. I wonder at God’s grace and patience with us all. Keep up the good work! I like your articles and I think that they are the best natural science, philosophy, and theology.
Melvyne C.
Excellent article. Today, science so called, makes God a fool to say he created in six days. No: before the beginning, seeing this time, God surely wisely out-foxed those who disbelieve by creating the impossible! Belief in the Word is above knowing.

Heavens above, surely, God has the power, based on his rock solid truth, to do as he miraculously wrote in stone, just having shaken Mount Sinai?
Divine Law is superior to any human designed judicial law or human theory. The same for the divine law on origins (Exodus 20:8–11). That is the crux of the matter.

The commandment to remember, he created in six days and rested on the seventh, is a commandment!!! Fellow evolutionist Christians need first to realize that. Then, if so realized, faith should become more rock solid in the whole of Judaeo-Christian scripture, based totally on what God spoke publicly from heaven (Exodus 20:22), otherwise, two masters are served!
Lewis John G.
If one's apologetics are unbiblical, that affects all other Christian doctrines—especially that of creation.
Patrick L.
Thank you for a great article. I enjoy reading William Lane Craig when he speaks philosophy, but I agree that he has not done his homework with regards to Genesis and the origins of life.
Gian Carlo G.
You went very high IQ on this one, Dr Sarfati, especially the joking remark about Congressmen, lol. Anyways, it's very unfortunate Craig would resort to this sort of tactic. I think even if he does read your Genesis Account, he refuses to accurately represent it because if he does, he would have to give intellectual credibility to your arguments, in which case his audience would have to suspect that YECs have very solid arguments and that would not sit well with Craig given his reputation.

Furthermore, Craig is guilty of accepting bad scientific theories that don't even address origins. He accepts Bohmian Mechanics as an alternative explanation to the double-slit experiment and quantum reality, even though numerous papers in the secular literature has shown Bohmian mechanics is not only false it even violates special relativity and its framework is no different than the Everettian Interpretation, which has its own problems as well. At this point, Craig would only be good for is defending the resurrection or the nature of God, but the resurrection is done better by other apologists like JP Holding and Mike Licona and even Gary Habermas.

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