Feedback Archive 2011

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Common atheistic arguments December 31, 2011
How should we respond?

Isaiah 7:14 December 20, 2011
Is there a contemporary fulfillment of this passage?

Vestigial organs revisited December 17, 2011
The argument from ‘vestigial organs’ has been refuted many times by creationists, but some evolutionists still think it is a good argument against creation.

Apartheid racism biology December 11, 2011
Does biology have a place in our understanding of apartheid in South Africa?

God Simple December 10, 2011
Does God have parts?

Flood models flat earthers December 4, 2011
How do we decide between different flood models?

Lizard parthenogenesis December 3, 2011
Does parthenogenesis in lizards mean that some lizards only had one gender on Noah’s Ark?

Quran prophecy christianity November 26, 2011
A brief look at Islamic and Judaistic arguments against Christianity.

Gap theory revisited November 20, 2011
‘Gap theory’ has no exegetical basis in Scripture in both ancient Hebrew and 17th century English.

Hebrew bible season pi November 19, 2011
This week’s feedback addresses questions of the proper understanding and defence of the Old Testament. CMI’s Dr Jonathan Sarfati responds.

Sun age November 13, 2011
Does the current ratio of helium to hydrogen in the sun prove it is billions of years old?

Whale fossils mutations yom November 5, 2011
Whale fossils, mutations, and the meaning of Genesis 1

Rocks to reincarnation October 30, 2011
The Bible is our final authority and reliable guide

Mutations epigenetics information October 29, 2011
Addressing some common misconceptions about creationist biology.

Religious racism cain chronology October 22, 2011
The Bible provides the antidote to racism and slavery, and a basic chronology of Cain.

Thermodynamics and evolution October 18, 2011
How useful is the Second Law of Thermodynamics as an argument against evolution?

Pagan copycat thesis refuted October 15, 2011
Jesus was not made up from pagan myths

Living fossils erv function October 8, 2011
Why do ‘living fossils’ and functions in ‘junk DNA’ present problems for evolution?

Evolution exams fossil fallacies October 1, 2011
How to answer questions about evolution: whether for course credit or to clear up misconceptions about fossils

Silver bullets natural selection fossils September 24, 2011
No one article will win the origins debate single-handedly.

15 questions responses 3 September 22, 2011
Our 15 Questions for Evolutionists has sparked many responses from evolutionists and skeptics attempting to answer. We’ve compiled many of the answers that we’ve received, along with our refutations.

Bible time human genetic diversity September 17, 2011
Is there enough time in the Bible to account for all the mutations?

15 questions responses 2 September 14, 2011
Our 15 Questions for Evolutionists has sparked many responses from evolutionists and skeptics attempting to answer. We’ve compiled many of the answers that we’ve received, along with our refutations.

Christians atheists other religions September 10, 2011
What does it mean to be an ‘atheist’?

Chronology genesis 1 September 8, 2011
Big bang beginnings and days before the sun.

15 questions responses 1 September 7, 2011
Our 15 Questions for Evolutionists pamphlet has sparked many responses from evolutionists and skeptics attempting to answer.

Atheism plants and gas giants September 3, 2011
CMI gets questions and comments on all sorts of issues. This week we showcase some of that variety, with questions on topics from atheism to astronomy.

Childbirth consciousness September 1, 2011
Would stopping childbirth pain disprove the Curse? And, how does human consciousness fit into the Christian worldview?

Sardines and heretics August 31, 2011
Do either have a place?

Lucy atheism science August 27, 2011
Even if ‘Lucy’ walked upright, would she be an ancestor of humans? And, does science naturally lead to atheism?

History and theology August 18, 2011
History, science and philosophy without theology lead to atheism

High view of scripture August 6, 2011
Round two versus a theistic evolutionist who objected to being grouped with the ‘useful idiots’ who help the atheistic cause with their compromise. Objective biblical exegesis trumps postmodern eisegesis.

Strata cave dating July 30, 2011
Are creationists mistaken about how they form, and how long they take to form?

Gobekli Tepe July 26, 2011
How does this supposedly 12,000-year-old archaeological find fit with biblical history?

Geology astronomy naturalism July 23, 2011
Do creationists have to resort to secular ideas to explain them?

Mainstream science theology Genesis July 16, 2011
The folly of theologians favouring the ‘science of the day’ over biblical foundations.

Fossils plant survival Flood July 9, 2011
Are they possible in the Genesis Flood?

School assignment genesis 1 and 2 July 2, 2011
Advice on how to structure an assignment on creation/evolution

Compromise fails June 25, 2011
Some Christians think that watering down what the Bible says in Genesis makes it easier to reach unbelievers. Does it really?

Useful idiot who me June 23, 2011
One correspondent took umbrage at the term ‘useful idiot’ to describe theistic evolutionists in a CMI article. Is the adage, ‘If the shoe fits, wear it’ justified?

Soldiers scoffers June 21, 2011
CMI helps believers in the war of ideas where they are and stands as a public challenge to scoffers at the Bible.

Missing mass big bang June 18, 2011
Do recent reports of ‘missing matter’ being found have anything to do with the elusive ‘dark matter’? Plus: how to handle atheopathic pressure on the Internet.

ANE Cosmogonies and Genesis 1 June 16, 2011
Do they prove Genesis 1 should not be interpreted as reliable history? Plus a comment on the Hebrew word bara and heretical ideas by Dutch scholar Ellen van Wolde.

Testimony June R June 11, 2011
A supporter testifies to the damage of long-age thinking to Christian faith; plus, the meaning of ‘devolve’, and more.

Jeremy h testimony and aliens June 4, 2011
Creationist cosmologies help a believer see the truth of Genesis, and how we should address UFO believers.

Hawaii hot spot May 28, 2011
Catastrophic plate tectonics may provide some clues as to how the Hawaiian islands formed when we start from the Bible.

Bald heads and talking snakes May 21, 2011

Feedback archive Feedback 2011

Bald heads and talking snakes

This week’s feedback features two correspondents: one asks whether it was like Adam was created bald, and the other takes umbrage at the idea that the snake of Genesis 3 could have talked. CMI’s Carl Wieland responds.

Wikipedia.org Male pattern baldness is unlikely to be a created trait.’
Male pattern baldness is unlikely to be a created trait.

Peter L. from Australia asked:

Some years ago, when I was in the early stages of going bald, a friend of mine said that this was a result of the ‘Fall’, which I accepted at the time but now I am not so sure.

Do you think that Adam could have been created bald, or that Adam or Eve could have had the baldness gene, prior to sinning?

This is a relatively trivial issue, but in a world that clearly has different ideas to God as to what is sickness and what isn’t, it is, I think, important.

Another friend and I were talking today about whether Asperger’s syndrome is an illness, and therefore something in need of healing of treating.

I would value your opinion.


Dr Carl Wieland (once a practising medical doctor) replied:

Dear Mr L.

Thank you for an interesting question.

Not everything is known about baldness, but I don’t think that your suggestion is likely, unfortunately. Smilies

Not everything is known about baldness, but I don’t think that your suggestion [that Adam was created bald] is likely, unfortunately. Smilies

For one thing, there is the fact that the hair on the head performs an obvious role in shielding the scalp from sunburn, and that the scalp seems peculiarly sensitive to such sunburn (i.e. it is less well defended against it than other parts of the body). This suggests that when it comes to a mechanism which causes a once-full head of hair able to protect the scalp to progressively be lost, we are talking about a defective gene, rather than the ‘norm’.

This is backed up to an extent, though it’s a much more nebulous argument, by the fact that in all cultures I know of, people spend time and money tackling it as a ‘problem’. So that suggests that it’s not something that fits well with a ‘good’ world.

The most common type of baldness is so-called ‘male pattern baldness’, and it seems to result from the action of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), an androgenic male hormone. It seems likely from research to date that individuals with this pattern have inherited a variant (I would claim likely mutated, based on the above) form of gene that affects the sensitivity of the androgen receptor.

These things are often not straightforward, as they are sometimes linked to other traits. But generally, while I would not want to ‘die on that hill’, the above is what I would favour, which fits with your friend’s suggestion.

Re Asperger’s syndrome– this is a harder issue to define, in a sense. It’s a bit like the situation with ADD/ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, where there is a whole spectrum of presentations, ranging from mild to severe. And there, too, the popularity of the diagnosis seems to be related to the frequency of awareness from media exposure.

Asperger’s is commonly seen as part of the spectrum of autism. Having known (and had great sympathy with) parents with severely autistic children, there is absolutely no doubt in their minds (or mine) that such autism most definitely is a very, very serious (even tragic) condition that is definitely ‘abnormal’ and causes havoc to families. A mild case of Asperger’s, though, might not warrant treatment any more than someone with a different personality to another. [Asperger’s support groups and specialized therapists have some success in helping people with the syndrome find alternative strategies and mechanisms to help them cope.—CW] This raises questions about so-called personality disorders too, i.e. to what extent are they the result of ‘hard wiring’ in the brain, and in turn to what extent are they due to the Fall? They are certainly among the most intractable of conditions, and when severe, can cause a great deal of human misery. So does that warrant ‘treatment’, or is it just ‘bad behaviour’ that needs to be controlled and discouraged? Many who have (are struggling with) some of these would certainly line up for treatment if there was any, but we at all times need to be careful when it comes to alleged disorders affecting personality and behaviour. There seem to be several extremes that one can easily fall into: the ‘medical model’ in which everything is a disease that needs ‘treatment’; the ‘social model’ in which it is all ‘society’s fault’, and never the fault of the individual; and the ‘superspiritual’ model, in which it is all down to individual choices to be sinful, and no consideration may be given to the possible effects of the Fall on human proclivity to certain forms of behaviour. (E.g. mutations that might potentially affect brain function in some way.)

That vexed question of personal responsibility for bad behaviour can be particularly problematic in some situations—where does ‘disorder’ stop and ‘sin’ start? Is a child a ‘spoiled brat’, or ‘suffering from hyperactivity’? (Or some combination of both?) As with most of these things, the answers will probably not be ‘one size fits all’ and will require a good dose of what the Bible calls wisdom, applied case by case and always bearing James 1:5 in mind.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Carl W.

Louis v.R., known to be a theistic evolutionist from South Africa, writes:

Hello, Carl. You say that either the Bible is the truth or it is in error. Black or white. This applies specifically, if I understand you alright, to the early chapters of Genesis.

In the KJV Gen 3:1 one reads: “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said …

In the New International Version: “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?

In the American standard version: “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which Jehovah God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of any tree of the garden? 3:2

Contemporary English version: “1The snake was sneakier than any of the other wild animals that the LORD God had made. One day it came to the woman and asked, “Did God tell you not to eat fruit from any tree in the garden?””

The creature is referred to either as a “serpent” or a “snake”; there is no capital “S” in the word, so it seems to refer literally and unambiguously to the cold-blooded animal we usually call a “snake.” In the Afrikaans translation also the word used is “slang” (pronounced to rhyme with “hung”), i.e. “snake”.

In all the versions the snake is said to be “more subtle”, “more crafty” or “sneakier” than any of the other animals.

This is patent nonsense if interpreted literally. A snake’s brain is probably hardly bigger than the head of a pin, certainly no bigger than a dried pea, so it simply cannot be cleverer/more intelligent than all the other animals.

Nor does the snake’s brain carry the wiring to conduct speech-only human brains have that (you, as a medical man, will know: I believe it is a special section of the brain on the left side).

Nor does a snake have the kind of speech organs that would make it possible for it to speak.

Therefore I cannot see any way how this passage can be taken literally as straightforward factual historical narrative.

There are a few other points I could mention but this illustrates my point well enough.

Have a pleasant evening


CMI’s Dr Carl Wieland responds:

Louis, Prof. Marcus Dods (not a believer in the literal truth of Genesis, actually very much a liberal, but a Hebrew expert) said that if the word ‘day’ in Genesis does not mean day, then any attempt at exegesis is a hopeless exercise. I.e. folk like him can admit that it means what it says, because they just shrug it off as irrelevant, because they ‘know’ it’s not true, it’s just one more human document with error; they don’t have to worry about preserving even a modicum of special status for it as a revelation from God of how to win eternal life and avoid eternal lostness.

Equally here, if the Bible is not correct, then by the same sort of reasoning the Resurrection is nonsense, and thus there is no hope in Christ, we are of all men the most miserable, as Paul put it.

Look at this thread of logic you’re offering up:

  1. Genesis says that a snake talked.
  2. Snakes can’t talk.
  3. Therefore Genesis is either mistaken, or cannot be intended to be a factual account.

Now compare it to this:

  1. Matthew says that Christ physically rose from the dead.
  2. Dead men don’t rise.
  3. Therefore Matthew’s Gospel is either mistaken, or cannot be intended to be a factual account.

In either case, Louis, having the Bible as the basis for any rational faith is hopeless, and you and I may as well join the Rotary Club. Alternatively, one can take a presuppositional approach. Suppose, even if only for the sake of the argument, that the Bible conveys ‘true truth’ here. There is no indication from the text that this is other than a historical narrative, and that is how the NT writers and the Lord Jesus Christ take it, always. So let’s ask the question, is there any way for this to fit with modern-day scientific knowledge?

The power behind the talking snake was the angelic being originally called Lucifer, later Satan.

Indeed there is. First, a miracle-working God (the only sort able to create a functioning universe in 6 days) would have no problem having an exception to the rule in the case of snakes. But we are in any case given additional clues in other parts of Scripture, namely that:

  1. The power behind the talking snake was the angelic being originally called Lucifer, later Satan. [Later parts of the Bible record apparent speech coming from spirits (in the Gadarene demoniac) which then possessed pigs, for example (though there is no record of their utterances continuing). And then there is Balaam's ass.]
  2. The snake we are talking about, though the ancestor of today’s snakes, was definitely not the same as them; Genesis talks of a radical transformation in its mode of locomotion, for one thing.


tomcods & evolution May 19, 2011
A skeptic misunderstands what evolution is, and what is required to make it plausible.

Cains wife brother-sister intermarriage May 14, 2011
How could Cain have married his sister, if God forbade this practice in Leviticus, and his moral law is unchanging?

Reconciliation and reality May 7, 2011
Do the spiritual truths of the Gospel negate its reliance on history?

Genetics-primal-couple April 30, 2011
A reader points out that a Biologos article contradicts what CMI has published. Who is right?

Stereotype atheists April 23, 2011
When does generalizing a particular belief become stereotyping?

Ghost-encounters April 19, 2011
‘Are ghosts real?’ We said no, but what about people who claim to have sighted them?

Christian vs evolutionary atrocities April 16, 2011
Some facts about evolutionary atrocities, and how to refute skeptics who complain about alleged biblical or Christian ones.

Genetics geographical distribution April 14, 2011
A correspondent challenges us to explain genetics and geographical distribution in a creationist framework.

No alien limiting god April 12, 2011
A correspondent, while acknowledging that we reason biblically, thinks that it limits God to deny the existence of alien life. Is he right? We respond.

Eclipses Easter April 9, 2011
Are lunar eclipses possible during a full moon? And what about WMAP discoveries, universe ‘flatness’, rotating objects in the big bang model, and white holes?

Creation laughing stock April 2, 2011
Most of the responses to our correspondence with the compromising chaplain were positive. Here we respond to the only one who disagreed.

Five concise responses to atheistic arguments March 26, 2011
Dr Rob Carter gives five concise responses

Interpreting Genesis as history March 19, 2011
Why is it so important to interpret Genesis as reliable history?

Timing of events Noahs life March 12, 2011
When was Shem born? How long did Noah have to build the Ark? Was mankind’s lifespan reduced to 120 years?

Atheist deconversion and Palestine word origins March 5, 2011
Do we think all atheists ‘deconvert’ from Christianity because they don’t like a ‘judgemental’ God? And, are the origins of the word ‘Palestine’ antisemitic?

Bacterial mutations plus biblical geology February 26, 2011
Do bacteria suffer the same genetic entropy as multicellular organisms? Is the Flood the best biblical explanation for the geological record?

Canyons and fossils February 19, 2011
Emil Silvestru tackles questions on canyon formation and fossil layers.

Charity or apologetics February 12, 2011
Some people say that feeding the poor is more important than debating ‘side issues’ such as creation. Are they right?

Inferior women February 5, 2011
A correspondent claims that CMI’s articles are demeaning to women; we respond.

Can compromisers really be saved? January 29, 2011
CMI often says that creation compromisers can be saved; are we wrong?

Y Adam sea floor January 22, 2011
Does what we know about the Y chromosome fit with biblical history? And could there be a connection between sea floor life and the Cambrian explosion?

Cavemen, Ark, plant evolution, DNA replication January 15, 2011
Dr Jonathan Sarfati answers questions ranging from ‘caveman’ diets to plant evolution.

Deny vote to creationists January 8, 2011
Refuting a fact-free atheopathic diatribe against God, by a writer who hates that Christians are allowed to vote.

Evolutionist attack on Creation magazine January 1, 2011
CMI’s response to an evolutionist who accuses Creation magazine of being ‘purposefully inaccurate, both distorting the truth and telling outright lies.’