Michael Hawley's Author Website
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Fiction: Jack's Lantern and The Ripper's Hellbroth
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Nonfiction: Searching for Truth with a Broken Flashlight
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Published Aricles on the Whitechapel Murder Mystery

 

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                                                                                       Searching for Truth with a Broken Flashlight



Searching for Truth with a Broken Flashlight


"It was a pleasure to read Broken Flashlight,... His years of interest in geological analysis, knowledge of creationist pronouncements and teaching experience are embedded in the book's intellectual structure, and show in Hawley's clear, honest and charming style...He poses an interesting and fatal internal contradiction. If the Bible is God's Word and nature is His Handiwork, shouldn't they agree? Where's the truth? Since we can't apply observational verification to Biblical text, but can to the natural world, a rational mind should choose to accept the evidence of God's Handiwork. This is an extremely important lesson, in the classroom or out. It's sort of a theological critical experiment."

-Professor Theodore Steegmann, Jr., Professor Emeritus & former
chair of the Department of Anthropology at the State University of
New York at Buffalo


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"The general wisdom in North America is that one must either:

  • Accept the accuracy of the Bible text and thus embrace Creationism, or
  • Accept the Theory of Evolution as truth and consider the book of Genesis as myth.

Hawley explodes this as a myth. Starting from the facts found in nature, one can harmonize evolution and Genesis. A remarkable accomplishment. One of the most important books I have read in the past 12 months."

-ReligiousTolerance.org    

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Searching for Truth with a Broken Flashlight
assumes biblical inerrancy, yet is pro-evolution arguing that the truth behind the evolution/creation controversy is best discovered through faith and reason.  As explained by St. Thomas Aquinas, we actually have two infallible revelations from God, Scripture and nature.  Instead of dogmatically rejecting scientific discoveries of nature that conflict with a favored literal interpretation of Genesis, the most objective, thus effective, biblically sound approach is to filter the multitudes of literal biblical interpretations with scientific discoveries of nature.  In order to best explain why highly respected religious leaders have misunderstood the controversy for so long, the history and driving force behind it is examined.  In so doing, the many historical and biblical misconceptions that have blinded believers for the last few centuries will be exposed.  The controversy has also caused mistrust in the scientific process and its byproduct, biological evolution, resulting in many scientific misconceptions.  Revealed will be a self-correcting tool that objectively discovers God’s creation, while filtering out human error.  Lastly, this book examines what has effectively hijacked people’s sense of reason, wishful thinking.  Truth often plays second fiddle to what we want to be true, so understanding how the human mind makes the decision to believe or not allows for a clearer path to the truth.  The purpose of a flashlight is to illuminate in darkness, and succumbing to misconception and wishful thinking in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary is like searching for truth with a broken flashlight.

 
EXCERPTS FROM EACH CHAPTER:

Preface 

    Christian author James W. Sire defines worldview as “a commitment, a fundamental orientation of the heart...which we hold about the basic construction of reality, and that provides the foundation on which we live and move and have our being.” For nearly two millennia, devout Christians have had a worldview founded upon Jesus Christ and His Word, the Holy Bible. When a fellow Christian starts out by saying “The Bible says...” the fundamental orientation of their heart is clear, reality is understood through their Christian faith. Around the 18th century, a different worldview began to take hold in Europe and Western society, which has been termed The Age of Enlightenment. Reality is no longer viewed through a biblical foundation, but through human reasoning and understanding.  Enlightened thinkers attempted to understand the world logically and rationally, and the culmination of this worldview is modern science.  Today, this worldview is alive and well in modern thinking. It is not a big surprise that many Christians and atheists alike consider these two worldviews completely incompatible with each other, and one of the battlegrounds for worldview supremacy has been the evolution/creation controversy. It is my contention that these two worldviews are perfectly compatible with each other, thus, there is no controversy if we honestly believe in God’s Providence. Early on, I was blessed with being introduced to the writings of the eminent Christian theologian Thomas Aquinas, who demonstrated how human reason fits beautifully within a Christian worldview. Sadly, his writings seem to have been forgotten or even ignored, and at a time when they are needed the most. The waters of this issue have been muddied by both sides due to misconception and due to a powerful desire for only one worldview to prevail. My book is a reintroduction to one of Aquinas’ most persuasive arguments, along with an attempt to clear up the waters.

Chapter 1 - The Quest, a Bicentennial Genesis     

...This experience rocked my world.  How could my life’s passion be nothing but deception?  To me, one thing was for sure; one side must be completely wrong.  I did not want the scientists to be wrong, but then again as a Christian, I did not want to be on the wrong side of God’s wishes.  It did prompt a question in my mind, however.  Why would scientists all over the world dedicate their whole lives to a big lie?  I approached my older sister about my creationist experience.  She was in college at the time, so I was hoping that she would have some answers.  Her answer was, “Don’t make a conclusion until you hear the arguments from the other side, too.”  I took my sister’s advice to heart, so I began a quest for truth.  I realized that I had many misconceptions about this issue.  I did not know how to best search for truth, but I had an idea.  My plan was to not blindly accept either side’s arguments as I once did, but to thoroughly evaluate both sides before accepting one as the truth.  I wanted to personally discuss scientific theories with actual scientists, and that happened when I got to college... 


Chapter 2 - Dual Revelation

    …Much of this misconception lies in the difference between Scripture and the interpretation of Scripture.  Dr. Robert Schneider, professor emeritus of classical languages at Berea College, quotes conservative Baptist theologian Bernard Ramm in his article, Does the Bible Teach Science?,   “First, one must realize that revelation is not interpretation, and conversely, interpretation is not revelation.  Revelation is the communication of divine truth; interpretation is the effort to understand it.  One cannot say: “I believe just exactly what Genesis 1 says and I don’t need any theory of reconciliation with science.”  Such an assertion identifies revelation with interpretation.”    According to the World Christian Encyclopedia, there are over thirty thousand different Christian denominations.  Each denomination believes that they have been fully inspired by the Holy Spirit, thus have interpreted the Bible correctly.  This means biblical misinterpretation is a bigger problem than most Christians want to admit, since only one can be 100% correct.  Specific to the evolution/creation controversy, there are multitudes of interpretations of Genesis.  There are even dozens of different literal interpretations (not just one as many creationists insinuate to the public).  Confidence in a particular interpretation being the truth just might be misplaced.    Conversely, one must recognize the misconception that science conflicts with a belief in God.  Science deals strictly with the natural, not the supernatural.  If a particular scientist claims to be an atheist, it is not their scientific research that has revealed this; it is merely his or her personal belief.…


Chapter 3 - In the Beginning


     …Because the driving force behind the controversy is the fundamentalist/evangelical branch of the Protestant community its origins will be found within Protestant history, especially in their method of biblical interpretation.  Prior to this, the only Christian church in Western Europe was the Catholic Church, and dogmatically accepting only one literal interpretation of Genesis, i.e., a restrictive literal interpretation, as it relates to natural events was not the general practice.  Although Catholic theologians interpreted Scripture literally, a restrictive literal interpretation approach was of little importance.  The Church followed the lead of theologian Augustine of Hippo (354-430).  He was the primary influence upon the minds of clergy up until the Early Middle Ages.  Augustine states in his work, On the Literal Meaning of Genesis,  

“…in interpreting words [in the Book of Genesis] that have been written obscurely for the purpose of stimulating our thought, I have not rashly taken my stand on one side against a rival interpretation which might possibly be better.”      

As stated earlier, Augustine warned of being too restrictive in interpreting Scripture, especially when it deals with nature.  Incidentally, Augustine did not take the most literal interpretation of Genesis 1 and Genesis 2.  He states,  

“These seven days of our time, although like the same days of creation in name and in numbering, follow one another in succession and mark off the division of time, but those first six days occurred in a form unfamiliar to us as intrinsic principles within things created…disposing them [days] in an order not on intervals of time but on causal connections.” 

Chapter 4 - A Matter of Interpretation

 

   …Consider the following comment: “Scientists are mere humans, and have insignificant powers of reason as compared to God.  Since the Bible is perfect, any man-made scientific theories that conflict with the Bible must be wrong.”  You, as a Christian, may strongly believe this claim, especially since the community of Christians that you associate with also believes this.  You may even be convinced that the Holy Spirit has inspired your thinking, since God is obviously on your side.   Additionally, Satan may very well be behind the misguided egotistical scientists.  For many, it boils down to God’s perfect revelation over man’s limited ability to reason. 

   The above claim about revelation over reason has a major flaw in its logic.  The comparison is not between God and man; the comparison is actually between man’s interpretation of God’s Word and man’s interpretation of nature.  When the words of the Bible enter your mind, you must interpret its content.   Interpretation is unavoidable.  Even the clearest Bible verses must be put into context, and this requires interpretation.  Just as theologians interpret the facts of Scripture, scientists interpret the facts of nature.  Ultimately, it is a case of human interpretation vs. human interpretation...

Chapter 5 - As a Matter of Fact

 

   ...Is gravity a fact?  Surprisingly, the answer is no, and just as surprising it never will be, regardless of the reality of its existence.   If this confuses you, it is because we in everyday life use the word, fact, differently than scientists do.  We generally use it as an explanation that has been proven beyond all doubt.  If someone’s explanation or argument is proven, then it is considered fact.  For example, if the doctor diagnoses your ailment as the flu and explains it was caused by a flu virus, we consider this explanation a fact since it is accepted beyond any doubt.  Scientists do not consider this explanation a fact, even though they are completely convinced it is correct.  Fact in science has a different connotation than a proven explanation, equating it strictly to observable evidence.  A scientific fact is not an explanation, it is the evidence used to support an explanation.  In the case of gravity, a scientific fact is planets orbit the Sun or objects fall to the Earth.  The explanation of these facts is gravity. 

   We also use fact as to mean evidence, but not all evidence is created equal.  Evidence used in arguments/claims fit into four general categories and each category has inherent strengths and weaknesses when it comes to searching for the truth.  These categories are hearsay-based, experience-based, authority-based, and empirical-based.   All can produce convincing results, but some do a better job than others in pointing to the truth. all too often introduces error into the process and there is no way to verify it satisfactorily...

Chapter 6 - The Self-Correcting Process of Science

 

   …The following is my response to this article, which was edited by a colleague of mine, Bruce Adams, and then published in the Buffalo News on March 15, 2002:

 

“In Richard’s attempt to refute evolution, he wrote that evolution is just a theory, referring to it as “bad science.”  As a science teacher, I wonder if Richard knows what good science is.  He apparently falls prey to two erroneous assertions that creationists are fond of making.  The first is that a theory is “just a guess.”  The second is that theories, if “proven”, become facts.  Both claims demonstrate a failure to understand the scientific process.  In science, when a question is posed such as, “Why are elephant and dinosaur fossils never found together?”  Scientists apply knowledge and experience to arrive at an explanation.  This explanation is called a hypothesis; an educated “guess” not yet confirmed.  To confirm a hypothesis, evidence is gathered in the form of fact – pieces of data – that either support or refute it.  If they do not support the hypothesis, it is discarded.  If they do, a theory is born.  Unlike a guess, a theory must be supported by evidence.  But that’s not the end of the process.  The theory is then published in a professional journal for peer review so that the rest of the world can attempt to shoot holes through it.  Here is where theories really survive or fail.  The statement, “once a theory is proven, then it is a fact” is actually “bad science.”  Is gravity a fact?  No, and it will never be.  What is a fact, is that things fall.  The accepted explanation, supported by facts, is called gravity.  Does Richard consider gravity unproven?  The beauty of science is that it is self-correcting.  If the facts refute a theory, it is eliminated.  Evolutionary theory has been scrutinized by experts for more than 150 years, and it continues to survive as the only fact-based explanation for the diversity of life.”

Chapter 7 - Believing Evolution vs. Knowing Evolution


   ...Robert Riggins in his article, Do You Believe in Evolution? (2002), comments upon this particular question, “Do you believe in evolution?  It’s easy to say “Yes!” but that’s not right.  The problem is that the question itself is wrong.  It’s like the old “Have you stopped beating your wife?” question: either a yes or a no give the wrong impression…. The problem is the phrase “believe in”… is the trap….The phrase believe in in common parlance seems to mean to take something literally for which there is little or no objective evidence.”

   This is precisely the reason why many evolutionary biologists will not give a yes or no answer to this particular question.  It suggests that they have accepted biological evolution regardless of the physical evidence.  Recall that the scientific process filters out claims based upon conjecture.  Conforming to the evidence is everything.  The goal is to know evolution in order to discover the truth.  When someone says to me that they do not believe in evolution, I usually follow up with the question, “Well, what is evolution?”  Never have I received a correct answer, which tells me that their belief (or disbelief in this case) comes not from their head but from their heart.  In effect, someone is disagreeing with something that they have no idea what they are disagreeing about…   

Chapter 8 - The Heart has Reasons that Reason Ignores


   …A murder case took place in the state of Virginia in 1982 involving suspect, Roger Keith Coleman.  He was charged with raping and murdering his sister-in-law, Wanda McCoy, in her home, or just outside, on March 10, 1981.  Coleman pleaded not guilty.  The jury was directed to stick to the facts of the case, listen to the arguments on both sides, and then make a conclusion based upon the facts.  Less fact-based but still mandatory were eyewitness testimonies they had to make decisions upon.  The jurors came up with a verdict of guilty and convicted Coleman of rape and murder.  Ten years later in 1992 the state of Virginia executed Roger Keith Coleman for this murder, yet he maintained his innocence to the very end.  Minister James McCloskey, executive director of Centurion Ministries believed Coleman’s story, and had been fighting to prove his innocence since 1988.  McCloskey finally convinced the State of Virginia to undergo a DNA testing on sperm found inside the victim.  In January 2006, the results came back and they were positive for having come from Roger Keith Coleman.  The test results confirmed Coleman’s guilt.  Upon receiving this information, McCloskey stated,

 

 “I had always believed in Roger’s complete innocence.  In my view, he had no motive, means, or opportunity to do this crime.  I now know that I was wrong.”

 

   When listening to McCloskey speak prior to the DNA test, it was obvious he had complete confidence in Coleman’s innocence.  What convinced the jury of his guilt was that Coleman actually did have motive, means, and opportunity.  Among other evidence, he had a prior conviction for rape, he was near McCoy’s house the night of the murder, and he had access to it.  McCloskey even knew something the jury did not know; he failed a polygraph test.  His intuition, along with a few selected facts, made him believe Coleman was an honest man doomed by a series of unfortunate coincidences.  In this case, his reason to ignore reason failed him...  

Chapter 9 - Of Mongrels and Milkmen


   ...In the spring of 1997, members of a cult called Heaven’s Gate led by Marshall Applewhite committed mass suicide by drinking a lethal mixture of Phenobarbital and vodka.  The members believed that Applewhite was Jesus reincarnated.  There was no evidence for this, but they believed it without any doubt.  This belief was so strong that they followed Applewhite into death.  Applewhite explained to his cult members that “inner beings” in a spacecraft traveling alongside comet Hale-Bopp are coming for them.  He told them they must commit suicide so that their inner beings will be transported onto the spaceship.  The spaceship will then take them to another planet where their cult co-founder, Bonnie Nettles (who had recently died of cancer), is waiting for them.  

   Interestingly, members of Heaven’s Gate bought an expensive telescope just prior to Earth’s encounter with comet Hale-Bopp, but they returned it soon after.  The storeowner asked why they were returning the telescope.  They claimed that it was defective because they could not see the spacecraft!  Their belief was so strong that the possibility of there not being a spacecraft next to Comet Hale-Bopp was completely out of the question.  Contradictory physical evidence did little to weaken their belief that a spacecraft was on its way...

Chapter 10 - Seek Resonance and Avoid Dissonance 


   ...In 1987, skeptic and magician James Randi had a private investigator secretly record faith-healing sessions with a scanner and tape recorder. The scanner picked up Popoff’s wife, Elizabeth, saying, “Petey, can you hear me?”  She was secretly reading the prayer cards to Popoff through a radio into his hidden earphone.  On the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Randi showed a clip of Popoff deceptively yelling to the audience, “Harold”.  Popoff’s wife then said in the earphone, “Cataracts”.  Popoff followed with, “God is going to burn those cataracts right off your eyes!” Randi stated to Carson, “Popoff says God tells him these things.  Maybe he does. But I didn’t realize God used a frequency of 39.17 megahertz and had a voice exactly like Elizabeth Popoff’s.”

   Both, Al-Sahaf and Popoff, purposely deceived their audiences.  They had hidden agendas that had nothing to do with truth.  The above quote by Thomas Cooper, an American educationalist and political philosopher, offers us help in discovering the truth.  The solution is honest examination.  Since truth invites examination, then examination is the path to truth... 



After His Kind

The following is an excerpt from Searching for Truth with a Broken Flashlight, which provides clear Scriptural/natural evidence that the Genesis phrase "after his kind" agrees perfectly with biological evolution, macroevolution, and common ancestry:

It is very clear reading anti-evolution creationist literature that even though they accept evolution within kinds they overwhelmingly deny evolution between kinds, which they call macroevolution. Why? As stated earlier, they interpret, “according to their kind”, in the Book of Genesis as to mean God created all of life and placed them into preset divine categories, such as a whale category. The actual Hebrew word for kind is baramin. Any claim stating that modern species evolved from different “kinds” of animals, such as today’s whales being descended from a land mammal with legs cannot be compatible with their literal interpretation of the Bible.
What is the accepted definition of macroevolution within the scientific community? They rarely use the term, macroevolution, but generally they consider it a historical look at evolutionary change at the species level or higher. It has been stated that microevolution is evolution within a species, while macroevolution is evolution between species.

As stated earlier, anti-evolution creationists have a different definition of macroevolution, because they are connecting it to the biblical term, baramin. Baramin does not equate to species. The horse kind category is not a species level category, but it is a family level category. What does family level mean? Scientists have organized all of life into progressively more specific categories based upon levels of relatedness. For example, the classification system organizes horses as follows: Kingdom – Animalia (all animals), Phyllum – Chordata (all animals with spinal cords), Class – Mammalia (all mammals), Order – Perissodactyla (all odd-toed mammals such as horses, rhinos, and tapirs), Family – Equidae (horses, asses, and zebras), Genus – Equus (all horses), Species – caballus (a species of horse). Since horses, asses, and zebras are very horse-like, then this is probably what God meant by kind.

Most creationists claim that the Book of Genesis excludes the possibility of macroevolution, which comes from their belief that baramin, or kind, is a divine preset and permanent category of organism. The following are the specific verses in Genesis that use the phrase, “after his kind”:

-(Genesis 1:12): “And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”

-(Genesis 1:21): “And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”

-(Genesis 1:24): “And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.”

-(Genesis 1:25): “And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”

-(Genesis 7:14,15): “They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort. And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life.”

In their opinion, “after his kind” conflicts with the evolutionary concept of common ancestry, which states that all living organisms are descended from a common ancient ancestor. On the surface, it looks like common ancestry conforms to the creationists’ definition of macroevolution (evolution between kinds), thus conflicting with their interpretation of the phrase, “after their kind”. Little do most Christians realize, common ancestry is NOT evolution between kinds, which means it does not conform to the creationists’ definition of macroevolution. Common ancestry actually conforms to their definition of microevolution, which they accept. The idea that all organisms have a common ancestor is actually evolution WITHIN kinds, regardless of the definition of kinds.

If common ancestry states that the ancestor to all mammals was a non-mammal, i.e., an ancient reptile species, then how can this not be the creationists’ definition macroevolution? The answer is that evolution acts strictly upon populations from one generation to the next, which means that all modern mammals descended from their own kind, their parents. It has nothing to do with what happened 10,000 or 100,000 generations ago, or what is going to happen in the far future.

The divine category of kind can be restated in terms of genetics as the overall genetic makeup, i.e., the combined gene pools of all the species within that kind. For example, most creation scientists agree that giraffes are a kind of animal. Today there are a number of giraffe species, but they all look like giraffes. Most artist reconstructions of Noah and the ark tend to have two giraffes either walking into the ark or they have their long necks sticking out of the roof. Genetic mutations (about 100 new mutations per individual) guarantee that the next generation of giraffe kind will have a slightly different set of alleles than the previous one. Notice how the definition of kind must be flexible enough to take into account additional new variations upon each successive generation. This shows that the kind categories are not fixed categories. Subtle changes in the total number and version of alleles from one generation to the next causes the category to change slightly.

Common ancestry claims that all mammals have a common ancestor, which means that modern day giraffes must have descended from mammals that had shorter necks. The fossil record confirms this with progressively older rocks containing giraffe-like mammals with progressively shorter necks. The oldest giraffe-like fossils are very deer-like in their morphology.

Besides having shorter necks, the most primitive giraffe-like fossils look deer-like. This also conforms to common ancestry, since giraffes are genetically similar to the deer family. Today, the giraffe and the deer are very distinct from each other, but it gets very difficult to separate them in the fossil record. The problem for many creationists is that deer are a different kind than giraffes. Common ancestry is conflicting with their definition of macroevolution. A certain population did not directly evolve from one set kind (deer) into another (giraffe), the kind evolved with it. The category of giraffe kind did not exist at the time of Eumeryx. More importantly, this does not conflict with the Book of Genesis, since each population of mammals is living and breeding after their kind at the time of their kind. This particular ancient population of deer-like mammals progressively changed their overall genetic makeup (kind) through time, yet they stayed true to after their kind and still do.

Organisms do not evolve from one kind to the next, as defined by anti-evolution creationists’ macroevolution. Their kind is inherently part of them, so organisms and their kind category evolve together. Since their kind category changes along with organisms, it guarantees that they always evolve WITHIN, or “after their kind”. This means that there is no conflict between common ancestry and Genesis. Interestingly, modern elephants, rhinos, camels, deer, sheep, pigs, horses, and hippos show a similar common ancestry pattern in the fossil record as in the case of the giraffe. Additionally, the ancestors to all of these very distinct kinds of mammals look more similar to each other than they do of their modern descendants.

Those opposed to this view may say that “after his kind” refers to preset categories, thus are not subject to change through time. God created kind categories then filled the categories with all of life. The problem with this interpretation is that it does not match God’s other infallible revelation, nature. As stated earlier, the overall variation within a kind category changes with the next generation, so the kind parameters just changed. Taking the Book of Genesis literally, it could just as likely mean that while God is creating separate and distinct organisms, they are conveniently fitting into different categories. The purpose is “separate and distinct”, not “must fit into pre-made categories”. Once complete, Adam now has the ability to name them since they are different from each other:

-“And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

-And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.” (Genesis 2:19,20)

 

Henry Morris’ Deception

The central foundation behind the “science” of creation science is a specific kind of flood geology where all of the layered sedimentary rocks around the world are remnant global flood deposits. All of today’s young earth creationists hinge their entire arguments in the evolution/creation controversy around this claim, which can be traced directly to Henry Morris’ and John Whitcomb’s 1961 book, The Genesis Flood. The following are excerpts from my book discussing this and revealing Morris’ deception upon fellow Christians:

Ellen G. Harmon (1827-1925) with her soon-to-be husband, James White, teamed up with Joseph Bates, and founded the Seventh-day Adventist Church, an offshoot of the Millerites. …Ellen White quickly became the spiritual leader of the church, and today is revered as a prophet. Ellen White claimed to have upwards of 2,000 visions from God with her first occurring just after The Great Disappointment in 1844. One particular vision was the beginning of creation. She states,

“I was then carried back to the creation and was shown that the first week, in which God performed the work of creation in six days and rested on the seventh day, was just like every other week.”

She then states that fossils were the result of the flood,

“[humans, animals, and trees] were buried, and thus preserved as an evidence to later generations that the antediluvians perished by a flood. God designed that the discovery of these things should establish faith in inspired history; but…the things which God gave them [i.e., to us humans] as a benefit, they turn into a curse by making a wrong use of them [scientists].”

One particular early twentieth century creationist, George McCready Price (1870-1963), was the key anti-evolution creationist most influential to today’s young earth anti-evolution creationist movement even though his beliefs were considered on the fringe by fundamentalists at the time. Price promoted what he called Flood Geology. He claimed that geologists were completely wrong about the geologic history of the layered sedimentary rocks and the fossils they contained. While geologists were claiming that sedimentary rocks are the result of sediment (sand, clay, mud, etc.) being deposited and buried over millions of years, Price was claiming that they were flood sediments from Noah’s global deluge approximately 4,000 years ago. The fossils were remnants of creatures that died during the global flood. He believed the Earth was created in 4004 BC just as Ussher had calculated using biblical chronology. This also meant that man was created fully formed, which precluded the possibility that biological evolution had any part in the origin of human beings. He began publishing his young earth flood geology literature in 1902 with, Outlines of Modern Christianity and Modern Science. In 1906 Price wrote, Illogical Geology: The Weakest Point in the Evolution Theory. He finished his most notable work in 1923, which was a college textbook entitled, The New Geology.

George McCready Price had no choice but to believe in a restrictive literal interpretation where God created the universe in 4004 BC. The founder of Seventh-day Adventism, Ellen White, claimed to have received a vision from God, showing her the creation of the universe, which “was just like any other week.” Accepting anything other than a young earth would be to deny Ellen White as a true prophet. If other literal interpretations were true, such as Day-age creationism and the Gap Theory, then this would mean the Seventh-day Adventist denomination is based upon error.

George McCready Price was not the first to come up with flood geology. The scientific community settled this issue at the beginning of the previous century. A convincing argument against a young earth literal interpretation of the Bible in the early 19th century was that no physical evidence for a global flood existed anywhere on the planet. A massive and violent global flood should visibly scar the surface of the Earth. English geologist and paleontologist (and originator of the Gap Theory) Reverend William Buckland (1784-1856) advanced flood geology and claimed in his published work in 1820, Reliquiae diluvianae (Relics of the Flood), that the gravel and till deposits spread across northern Europe and North America were the result of Noah’s flood. As the first “official” geologist at Oxford University, Buckland was one of the most respected naturalists of his age. According to Dr. Steven J. Gould (1941-2002), paleontologist and biologist at Harvard University, Louis Agassiz (1807-1873) claimed Buckland was incorrect, and that the physical evidence clearly shows this debris came from continental glaciers. Within ten years and after numerous scientific debates, Buckland reluctantly agreed with Agassiz and rejected his own work.

At the time of Buckland’s tenure at Oxford, another flood geology idea was discussed within the scientific community, which claimed that all of the world’s layered sedimentary rocks were remnant global flood sediment. Buckland quickly discounted this hypothesis since it did not conform to the geologic evidence. In 1836, Buckland writes,

“Some have attempted to ascribe the formation of all the stratified rocks to the effects of the Mosaic Deluge; an opinion which is irreconcilable with the enormous thickness and almost infinite subdivisions of these strata, and with the numerous and regular successions which they contain of the remains of animals and vegetables, differing more an more widely from existing species, as the strata in which we find them are older, or place at greater depths.”

According to Dr. Gould, the geology community as a whole rejected this type of flood geology, because it was “irreconcilable” with the physical evidence. As evidenced by Reverend Buckland, many well-respected experts within the scientific community in the early 19th century were devout Christians and had no difficulty referring to the Bible in scientific research. Even so, the 19th century scientific community was forced to conclude that there was no recent global flood, since there was no physical evidence to support it.

According to Dr. Numbers (a former Adventist himself), George McCready Price did not receive his education on flood geology from this early scientific debate. As stated earlier, Seventh-day Adventist founder, Ellen White, claimed to have seen in one of her 2,000 divine visions the rock layers and fossils being formed during Noah’s flood. Price, believing White as a prophet, took this vision as gospel and developed young earth flood geology creationism around it.

For most in America in the late 1950’s, the fear of an immediate Soviet domination took precedence over the fear that evolution was slowly destroying our social fabric, but not everyone believed this. Fundamentalist Christians had always maintained that the root cause of all social problems was this anti-God philosophy. In 1961, the anti-evolution fight was reenergized by the publication of one book, The Genesis Flood (1961). The authors, Henry Morris and John Whitcomb, Jr., were so convincing to fundamentalist Christians that it started a new creationist movement, in which they called creation science. Dr. Numbers comments upon this in his book, Creationists: The Evolution of Scientific Creationism:

“At last, in the late 1950’s, a breakthrough occurred. John C. Whitcomb, Jr. (b. 1924), a theologian at Grace Theological Seminary (Winona Lake, Indiana) of the Grace Brethren denomination, and Henry M. Morris (b. 1918), a hydraulic engineer of Southern Baptist background, had each been moving in a creationist direction for quite a while before finding confirmation in Price’s work. Each was also disturbed by a book published in 1954 by the evangelical Baptist theologian, Bernard Ramm, The Christian View of Science and Scripture… Soon after Whitcomb and Morris met each other they published The Genesis Flood (1961), an updating of Price’s work, but one that, because of Whitcomb’s theological contribution and Morris’ scientific expertise, made Price’s points more persuasively.”

Morris and Whitcomb repackaged Prices’ discarded flood geology creationism into something that the fundamentalist and evangelical community finally embraced. The Genesis Flood was an instant success with 29 reprints and sales in excess of 200,000 by the 1980’s. It became the scientific support and justification for the belief in young earth creationism, especially since this movement was named creation science. One reason for its success, besides the more refined methods of persuasion in the book, is because Morris came from the mainline Baptist community rather than the fringe Seventh-day Adventist community as did Price. This made it more palatable for mainstream evangelicals. Morris and Whitcomb seemed to have predicted this Christian bias. In The Genesis Flood they do not credit George McCready Price’s work, The New Geology (1923), as being their single most influential resource. Again, The Genesis Flood is merely an updated version of The New Geology. Don Stoner in his book A New Look at an Old Earth, states:

“The connection to Price and the Adventists worried Whitcomb and Morris…. Fearing that Price’s Adventist-tinted reputation might hinder the acceptance of The Genesis Flood, Whitcomb and Morris tried to avoid any visible connection with Price. Although they left the substance of their arguments unchanged, they removed nearly every mention of Price’s name from their book.”

Timothy Martin points out in his book, Beyond Creation Science, that after 23 years and after the fundamentalist Christian community had fully embraced his book, Morris finally gives credit where credit is due. In his 1984 book, History of Modern Creationism, he states,

“I encountered his name in one of Harry Rimmer’s books… and thereupon looked up his book The New Geology in the library at Rice Institute, where I was teaching at the time. This was in early 1943 and it was a life-changing experience for me.”

The significance of their deception upon fellow believers cannot be overemphasized. In order to avoid the McCready Price connection, Morris and Whitcomb claimed that sedimentary rock flood geology was common knowledge even in early Christianity, and in so doing, hinted that this was the source of their modern sedimentary layer flood geology. On page 90 of The Genesis Flood, Morris and Whitcomb state,

“Before 1800, some of the outstanding theologians of the church were of the opinion that the Genesis Flood not only was universal in extent but also was responsible for the reshaping of the earth’s surface, including the formation of sedimentary strata. Among those who held this view were Tertullian, Chrysostom, Augustine, and Luther.”

This statement can be nothing but a deception. A thorough review of these early Christian’s writings will demonstrate that they never commented upon sedimentary rock strata being the result of Noah’s flood. Besides, Christian leaders prior to the 19th century believed Genesis clearly states that the land, which includes all sedimentary rocks, was formed BEFORE the creation of life. Since sedimentary rocks contain billions of fossils (evidence of life), it can only mean these rocks were formed AFTER life began.



So, why is this significant as we attempt to discover the truth? First keep in mind, young earth creationists admit they filter discoveries in science with a favored interpretation of Genesis. Henry Morris claimed it is the spiritually safe approach. Price's sedimentary rock flood geology is the foundational piece of evidence that confirms the young earth creationists' interpretation, which is considered absolute truth to them, i.e., not open to questioning. The problem is this particular absolute truth came from a dream of a teenager in the 1840s.

Second, Morris purposely led his readers into believing something that was false. Christians at the time of Steno (18th century) would never have accepted this interpretation of Genesis, because it suggests life began before the formation of rocks. For Morris to claim the ancient Christians promoted this clearly demonstrates he did not want his Christian readers to know the whole truth. It is another case of cherry picking the evidence in order to convince readers of a belief, as opposed to allowing all of the evidence to speak for itself.

 

 

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