[b-hebrew] Genesis 1:2 - And the earth was without form, and void

Peter Kirk peter at qaya.org
Mon Apr 17 06:40:01 EDT 2006

On 16/04/2006 00:51, Karl Randolph wrote:
>> ...
> Peter: Dr. Morris jump started the creationist 
> movement with his book "The Genesis Flood" with a 
> co-author who was a theologian. In other words, he 
> didn't presume theological expertise when he didn't 
> have it. Further, Dr. Morris' textbook on hydrology 
> was a standard text used at secular universities 
> for their hydrology classes for many years. And to 
> get a PhD, a "minor" is the equivalent of a 
> master's degree in a second field, at least that 
> was the case at the universities where I studied. I 
> doubt your scientific qualifications come anywhere 
> close to Dr. Morris'. The same is true of a 
> majority of other scientists.

I have a master's degree in natural sciences, which by your own 
statement is equivalent to Morris' masters equivalent in geology. 
Hydraulic engineering is not science but engineering.
> ...
> However, when I looked at evolution, I found 
> something within my field, namely logic. Evolution 
> cannot be a scientific study because of the 
> definition of science given in the same textbooks, 
> never was and never will be. There is a logical 
> contradiction at the heart of the claim that 
> evolution can be a scientific study. When I ask 
> scientists, evolutionists, if the definition for 
> science has changed since I learned the definition 
> from Dr. George Gaylord Simpson, they assure me 
> that it has not.
Probably the scientists you have spoken to are not familiar with the 
latest advances in philosophy of science. But are you saying that 
Simpson, a noted evolutionary scientist, was personally working in 
contradiction to his own definition of science? That sounds like a 
personal slight to me.

> I found that same logical contradiction at the 
> heart of "creation science".
I won't quarrel with this.

> This is not in need of refinement of some details, 
> the whole structure is flawed at its foundation.
> "Intelligent Design" is different from both 
> evolution and "creation science" as it has been 
> explained to me in that it stays within the realm 
> of science.
Possibly, but if it holds to a literal 6 day creation it is bad science. 
But I don't actually know enough about "intelligent design" to respond 
intelligently. If the point is that it accepts most of the general 
scientific evidence of what happens but gives different explanations for 
why, then I may not be that far away from it.

>>> ...
>> The intellectual dishonesty which I despise is of those who think 
>> they know better than the experts in a field when they haven't even 
>> looked properly at the evidence on which the experts base their 
>> conclusions.
> Those people I don't consider worthy to despise.
Have you looked in a mirror recently?

>> ...
>>  there is ample historical evidence that the world was 
>> not created in 6 days 6000 years ago and so we need to interpret 
>> the biblical records in the light of that apparent fact.
> What historical evidence?

Well, not strictly "historical" in the sense of written records, 
although there are almost certainly reliable oral traditions dating from 
before 4004 BC and written down a few centuries later when writing was 
first used. But there is ample evidence from archaeology as well as 
geology and astronomy that the world has been around for much longer 
than 6000 years.
> Do you reject the historical evidence that 
> genealogical records were kept by a number of 
> peoples tracing their ancestry back to a certain 
> Noah of big boat fame? ...

I do not reject this evidence, although I might wonder if the 
genealogies are complete. But I am not talking about Noah, I am talking 
about 6 day creation.

> ... Do you reject the historical 
> records that dinosaurs (then called dragons), even 
> large terrestrial ones, were still found in many 
> parts of the world as little as a couple of 
> thousands of years ago or much later?
I consider this evidence interesting but not conclusive. But even if 
true this does not prove 6 day creation.

> If by "historical evidence" you mean evolution, 
> that is not historical, rather extrapolations based 
> on modern religious beliefs.

My evidence is not from evolution, which is a theory to explain 
observations, but from the observations themselves. If you truly "don't 
consider worthy to despise" people who refuse to look at the evidence, 
please look closely at the evidence e.g. from the archaeology and 
geology of the Ice Ages. This evidence is sufficient to prove that the 
earth is at least a few million years old. And this evidence is dated 
not from fossils but from counting of layers and from radiocarbon etc 
dating, and so is independent of any theories of large scale evolution 
of species.
>>> No, Karl. You don't know anything about logic, it seems.<<
> Now you lecture me on logic???
> As for your limited observations argument, all we 
> can say is that from all the observations we have, 
> we have a certain result. Only after and not before 
> a counter example has been found can one work from 
> the supposition that a counter example exists. One 
> can note a pattern after a few observations, then 
> 10k observations later if no counter examples are 
> found, a scientist who assumed a counter example 
> will look somewhat foolish.
> Your reading assumes a counter example before the 
> counter example is found.
No, I am not. I am claiming that there may be a counter example and 
rejecting your assumption that there is no counter example.

>>> It seems we have a fundamental disagreement here. What criteria of 
> what is poetic are you using when you write the above?<<
> Genesis 1:1 - 2:4 are written in a terse prose with 
> few extraneous words, not unlike other prose 
> sections in Tanakh. Having read the whole Tanakh 
> numerous times in Hebrew, I have learned to equate 
> poetry with meter (almost totally lacking in 
> Genesis 1), repetition (again almost totally 
> lacking here) and parallelism (almost totally 
> lacking here). ...

There is a lot of repetition in Genesis 1, phrases like "God saw that it 
was good" and "the evening and the morning were the nth day". There is 
no strict poetic parallelism, but this careful repetitive structure 
indicates a semi-poetic style, very different from regular prose.

> ...
> An example of semi-poetic speech are the statements 
> of the treaty quoted in Exodus 20 where poetic 
> elements are inserted into strict prose.
That is not what I meant by "semi-poetic".

> ...
> Now I am not asking you to accept this record as 
> being a true history, rather all I ask is that you 
> back up your claim that it is not by providing good 
> linguistic reasons why this prose document should 
> be read other than as it is written. So far you 
> have not provided that evidence.
I have provided evidence that it is not a prose document. If you prefer 
to understand it as a prose record of events which in fact did not take 
place, that is your choice.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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