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

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Mon Apr 17 14:05:08 EDT 2006


This is starting to get off list, though it still 
applies to how we treat our study.

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Peter Kirk" <peter at qaya.org>
> On 16/04/2006 00:51, Karl Randolph wrote:
> >> ...
> > Peter: Dr. Morris ...
> 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.

Here I think you are being overly picky, as to get 
a Ph.D. one has to do original research. In Dr. 
Morris' case, his work reflected research into how 
fluids, in particular water, effect geology and how 
to design for it (e.g. placement of dams, design 
and placement of water channels, flood control 
measures, etc.). This definition of research fits 
the classical definition of science. As such, his 
scientific credentials outshine yours.

> > ...
> >
> > 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.
A personal slight is to say disparaging things 
about a person that at the least gives the 
impression of being untrue.

As for Dr. George Gaylord Simpson, I took his 
definition for science and showed it to numerous 
people, then juxtaposed it with his definition of 
evolution, and everyone who has seen it agree that 
the two are contradictory. Dr. Simpson gave one of 
the best descriptions of classic empirical science 
that I have seen, one that I found in numerous 
textbooks not only in biology, but also chemistry, 
physics, even evolution.

However, Dr. Simpson seems to have been acting on 
a new definition of science, which may be called 
"post empirical science", where theory and 
consensus take precedence over data derived from 
observation. But he could not say so publicly, as 
classic empirical science is still widely held as 
the proper method of doing science.

An example of classic empirical science in action 
was the epidemiological study by a couple of women, 
housewives, which demonstrated the existence of 
lyme disease, which was previously unknown.

If we had operated on the basis on modern, post 
empirical science a hundred years ago, would we 
have had an Einstein? 150 years ago, would Darwin 
have gotten a hearing? This new definition of 
science is almost identical to that definition of 
pre-empirical science that was used to convict 
Galileo. If we follow this new definition, then 
lyme disease would still be unknown.

As for Dr. Simpson, I do not claim that he (and the 
many scientists who think like him) deliberately 
contradicted himself, I have no evidence to support 
such a claim, rather that he fits Romans 1:22.
> >
> > "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.
Intelligent Design (ID), as it was explained to me, 
makes no claims about unobservable events that may 
or may not have occurred in the past, such as 
theistic evolution or a six day creation. Rather it 
points to the complexity found in even the simplest 
life and says that it demonstrates a type of 
complexity that is inconsistent with natural 
processes, rather it shows the type of complexity 
comparable with the design of a car engine.

If you believe in evolution, but believe that God 
guided it, you believe in ID.
> >> ...
> >>  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, 

Well, now you backtrack.

> 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.

Again, this is interpreting the data according to 
a certain set of presuppositions. But what if those 
presuppositions are wrong? We cannot go back in 
time to reobserve the events to verify or falsify the 

Further, as I wrote Doug Pickrel, it is dangerous 
to use outside beliefs that may or may not be true 
to define the words used in this text. We may agree 
or disagree with what the text says according to 
linguistic evidence, but to redefine terms 
according to how we think they should be read is 
invalid, putting words in the mouths of the authors 
that the authors never intended.

> > 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.

I was not trained as geologist, so I am not 
qualified to make judgments as to the data from 
primary observation. But when I went to trained 
geologists, I got different answers to the timing 
and other data concerning the ice ages depending on 
which geologist I went to. At first it puzzled me 
as to why trained geologists would come to very 
different answers when looking at the same data. 
Now I realize that, according to the definition of 
classic empirical science, theories concerning past 
events and their dates cannot be scientific, not 
even according to Popper's definition of 
falsefiability because of the lack of 

However, I was trained in philosophy and logic, and 
definitions are part of that training. When I 
looked at Dr. George Gaylord Simpson's definition 
for science, I looked at primary evidence within my 
area of study. Likewise when I looked at his 
definition for evolution and found that the two 
definitions contradict each other.

Further, training in logic also looks at and 
defines different logical fallacies. Much of what 
passes today for defining "science" are classical 
logical fallacies. One of the most common is the 
"argumentum ad populum" though I have found 
"circular reasoning" and "petitio principii" as 
other common ways of defining "science" and/or 

And possibly the most common logical fallacy used 
to attack theories that go against the majority 
opinion is the "straw man argument".
> ...
> > 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.

I said that there is no counter example found, and 
until it is found, it is invalid to operate on the 
basis that a counter example exists.
> ...
> >>> 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.

The repetition that you point to here is the 
repetition of a diary or a ship's log, no way 
characteristic in itself of poetic style. The 
content is also consistent with this style of 
> > ...
> >
> > 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.
See above.

This is what I think you do with the text.

> -- Peter Kirk
> peter at qaya.org (personal)
> peterkirk at qaya.org (work)
> http://www.qaya.org/

Karl W. Randolph.

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