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Evolutionist Lost Faith Over Flawed Geology Lesson

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first_imgA college student’s Biblical faith could not survive a geology lesson that seemed to offer convincing proof that the earth was old – much older than the Bible said it was.  This test of his faith was a tipping point.  He began to question the Bible, and ended up becoming a prominent evolutionist.  His books and articles present a halfway sympathetic view of his former creationist friends, but he is convinced now that science has disproved the Bible and established the truth of evolution.  But now, the rest of the story: that evidence that challenged his faith back then has since been shown to be wrongly interpreted – so wrong, in fact, that even secular geologists now agree with the creationist interpretation.    The man is Ron Numbers, now a professor of the history of science and medicine at the University of Wisconsin.  The geology lesson was about the fossil forests in Yellowstone.  In the 1970s, geologists taught that what looked like 30 separate forests had grown on top of each other, one at a time, only to be buried by periodic volcanic eruptions.  A sign at Specimen Ridge in the park explained this as a matter of fact.  Estimates ranged from 20,000 years minimum to 30,000, or 50,000 years or more were required – in any case, far more than a conservative Genesis timeframe could allow.    On May 18, 1980, an explosive event with profound repercussions for geological science took place.  Mt. St. Helens erupted.  In one day, this event literally overturned the long-age interpretation of Specimen Ridge.  In the Roadside Geology book about Yellowstone sold in the park, geologist William Fritz described his reaction to mudflows he witnessed along the Toutle River in Washington.  “It was just like Yellowstone!” he exclaimed.  Since that widely-observed natural experiment in catastrophic geology, the work of volcanic mudflows has become the leading explanation for how the Yellowstone fossil forests were emplaced, layers and all.  The old sign that explained the old theory to millions of park visitors is long gone.    When telling his life story, Ron Numbers has pointed to that premature lesson about the Yellowstone fossil forests taking tens of thousands of years to form as the incident that began turning him away from creationism to evolutionism.  Most recently, in an interview in Salon Magazine published January 2, he was asked at what point his ideas about creation began to change.  He responded,I wish I knew.  There are a few moments that proved crucial for me.  I went to Berkeley in the ’60s as a graduate student in history and learned to read critically.  That had a profound influence on me.  I was also exposed to critiques of young earth creationism.  The thing that stands out in my memory as being decisive was hearing a lecture about the fossil forest of Yellowstone, given by a creationist who’d just been out there to visit.  He found that for the 30 successive layers you needed — assuming the most rapid rates of decomposition of lava into soil and the most rapid rates of growth for the trees that came back in that area — at least 20,000 to 30,000 years.  The only alternative the creationists had to offer was that during the year of Noah’s flood, these whole stands of forest trees came floating in, one on top of another, until you had about 30 stacked up.  And that truly seemed incredible to me.  Just trying to visualize what that had been like during the year of Noah’s flood made me smile.He went on to describe how he and a fellow Bible-believing student wrestled all night with the implications of this explanation.  “Before dawn, we both decided the evidence was too strong,” he said.  This was a crucial night for me because I realized I was abandoning … the authority of Genesis.”    He did not indicate whether he had ever heard “the rest of the story” about Yellowstone.And thus, an evolutionist professor, who writes books against creationists, was molded – partly but significantly from a flawed interpretation of geological evidence.  Ron Numbers is the embodiment of a fable we told in our 11/13/2006 commentary.  An evolutionary explanation is presented as a matter of fact; it shakes a student’s faith; the damage is done; he “sees the light” of evolution and becomes a convert.  Then, years later, new evidence comes out showing that the creation explanation was trustworthy all along.    In both that case and this one, we are not saying that secular geologists have come running back to Genesis confessing their sins and saying the Bible-believers were right.  Of course they continue to talk long ages; the Yellowstone eruptions were umpty hundred thousand years ago with multiple episodes, the Nevada eruptions were similarly age-old, etc. (as if they were there with a stopwatch).  What’s important to remember is that data does not interpret itself.  Look again at the other story links at the end of the 11/13/2006 commentary.  Despite geologists’ philosophical commitment to the geologic column and its evolutionary foundation, they continually revise their stories, sometimes overturning them completely, as new evidence comes in (e.g., last week, 01/03/2007).  It just so happens that the latest interpretations of the Yellowstone and Nevada deposits are consistent with a catastrophic, flood-geology, young-earth view.  As such, they present neither a necessary nor sufficient reason to doubt the trustworthiness of the Bible.  The sudden catastrophic model is superior in many respects to the slow-and-gradual model.  Since the Bible-believing scientists propounded this idea before it became the new consensus, even when Ron considered it incredible and laughable, and no one took it seriously at the time, you could even say that in this instance the Bible-believing, young-earth creationists have been vindicated.It’s ironic that the old-age view was presented by “a creationist.”  Obviously not all creationists accept the Genesis timetable.  But creationists who subscribe to an old-earth or theistic-evolution view should ponder the impact of that view on Ron as a student.  It did not help him resolve conflicts between the Bible and “science” – it eroded his trust in the Bible completely.  Some old-earth creationists like Davis Young have touted the Yellowstone fossil forests as proof positive that the earth could not be fitted into a few thousand years.  Now they have egg on their faces.  Regardless of one’s position on the age of the earth, one lesson is clear: what science is claiming today is always subject to change.  Using today’s consensus to argue against the Bible’s history, which has withstood scrutiny longer than any scientific claim, is risky business and of doubtful support for Biblical worldview construction.Ron Numbers’ view of creationism is more nuanced and sympathetic than that of the typical Darwinist, owing to his personal experience.  But since that fateful geology lesson, it appears he began interpreting subsequent scientific claims through a new lens – an evolutionary, materialist lens.  One can only wonder how differently his life would have turned out had someone rushed into that class at the end of the lecture, yelling, “Wait!  Mt. St. Helens has just erupted, and billions of tons of logs are being deposited in layers along the Toutle River in a matter of hours!  It’s just like Yellowstone!”    As stated in the 11/13/2006 commentary, unbelief often becomes a deep trench once it starts.  It is highly doubtful Ron Numbers would retrace his worldview journey back to that point if someone were to tell him about the paradigm shift at Yellowstone.  By this time he has cut too deep a trench to climb out.  His reputation among his peers is also on the line.  Few people who publish books taking strong positions ever change their minds.  The twig is bent; the die is cast.  He is no longer the Learnuh, he is the Mosstuh.  He has seen the light.  Miracles can happen, but the new Yellowstone story is unlikely to make someone who touts the so-called “overwhelming evidence for evolution” change sides at this late date.  Pastors, parents, and Christian teachers wanting to prepare students for adulthood should take some sober lessons from this case study.    In the first place, Biblical history should be presented as more than just stories.  It needs to be shown to correspond to actual historical events.  The new Archaeological Study Bible is a great resource to show the correspondence between Biblical history and archaeology and history from other sources.    Secondly, Christian students should not be insulated from contradictory ideas.  Conflicts are inevitable anyway, so it is very counterproductive to avoid them.  Children and teens want to know their beliefs are sound.  Instruction about scientific controversies must be age-appropriate, of course, but in Ron’s case, why did it take college age at Berkeley (of all places) for him to discover critical thinking?  That should have started before age 10.  (Note: “Critical thinking” at liberal universities often becomes imbalanced questioning of traditional values and religious beliefs – see quote by Berkeley law professor Phillip Johnson in the header of the Baloney Detector).  It is by facing difficulties head-on that confidence in one’s worldview is built.  Like Johnson has often teased, we should teach students more about evolution than the schools want them to hear!  A student can’t understand our modern world without understanding Darwinism and evolutionary theory and the best arguments put forth to support it.  But, unlike in public schools, they should also get the scientific arguments against it.  A vast majority of American citizens believe that.    Thirdly, and even more important, students should learn the limits of science.  They need to develop a healthy skepticism of the ability of fallible human science to make knowledge claims about the past (or even the present, for that matter).*Ron grew up in a Seventh-Day Adventist church.  Though outside the mainstream of Protestant tradition, SDAs are staunch Bible believers.  However much his well-meaning parents and teachers might have thought they were protecting students by teaching only the young-earth view and avoiding contradictory scientific views from secular geology and evolutionary biology, it is clear in hindsight that insulation from challenge can backfire.  By high school and college age, young adults are questioning the beliefs they were taught as children anyway.  We should help them learn how to do it right.  Dodging hard questions or making a child feel guilty for doubt is a bad example.  It gives the impression that Christianity is anti-intellectual, or too weak to stand up under examination.  The great Christian physicist James Clerk Maxwell believed that Christianity was the only system that allowed full and free investigation, without sacred spots that were off limits to scrutiny.    Chuck Colson and Nancy Pearcey gave a memorable example of facing controversy in chapter 5 of their book How Now Shall We Live? (Tyndale, 1999).  They portrayed a father confronted by his daughter’s questions about evolution.  He didn’t have ready answers at the time.  But he did a brave thing that made an impression on her: he answered, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out.”  And he let her know he was willing to lay his own faith on the line to find answers.  So with his daughter, he did a research project on the evidence for creation and taught her more than just answers to her specific questions: he taught her that a Christian need not be afraid of investigating the evidence.  He showed her that the way to handle a doubt is to confront it with research and honest analysis of both sides of a controversy.If Ron Numbers had left the safety of church and home armed with critical thinking skills and an arsenal of sound strategies to consider skeptical claims fairly, how much different would his life had been?  It’s hard to say.  Some students will rebel for other reasons: perhaps, a rationalization to explore their lusts, or a desire to fit in with a peer group.  It appears, though, that Ron has maintained a soft spot for his childhood worldview, as if nostalgic for it.  Some ardent anticreationists grew up in a church but were completely unprepared for the allure of evolutionary propaganda.  They not only embraced it readily, but became ardent foes of Christianity.  E. O. Wilson and Michael Shermer come to mind.  From Ron Numbers’ own testimony, though, it seems he and his friend sincerely wanted to keep their faith.  They respected truth and yet were conflicted by what appeared to be solid evidence against what they had been taught.  A solid education in handling difficulties and controversies honestly and critically is good insurance against sudden challenges by conflicting ideas.It goes without saying that bad beliefs deserve to fall when unable to withstand a challenge.  Some Christians fall for foolish ideas that are not supportable from the Bible or scientific evidence, like myths of NASA support for Joshua’s long day, or speculations about where heaven is in the visible universe.  Critical thinking demands the honesty to abandon a belief that is no longer defensible after rigorous investigation of the evidence and research into all the well-reasoned points of view.  The same standard cuts both ways.  When will the evolutionists abandon Haeckel’s; embryos, junk DNA, vestigial organs and the other discredited props for their beliefs?    Unfortunately for Ron, his doubts about a young earth were aggravated by legitimate doubts about the credibility of SDA’s prophetess Ellen White – a writer no other Christian groups consider authoritative.  This contributed to him tossing the whole religious package altogether.  Most SDAs are very congenial and sincere people, but any Christian who gets too closely tied to one particular sect or denomination should take warning.  Beware if you belong to any group that becomes ingrown and isolated, trusts only its own material and shuns fellowship with other true Christians in other denominations.  Sectarianism can pose a setup for rejection of all Christianity by the young when maybe the fault is with unusual teachings or practices of the denomination, not the Bible itself.  The more a church, tradition, or a strong leader becomes the authority rather than the Bible itself, the greater the risk.Science is a search for truth, but it is not the truth.  It is limited in its domain (the observable world).  It is done by fallible humans.  Science is tentative at best, and often wrong.  There are deep and abiding philosophical doubts about the ability of mere mortals to comprehend reality by our senses with any confidence that what we deem scientific today is true, necessary, universal and certain.*  It bears repeating: evidence does not interpret itself.  Over and over in these pages you have read about evolutionists twisting and forcing contradictory evidence into the rigid container of their world view.  The same evidence can often bear one or more other equally-valid interpretations.  At best, science can claim evidence is consistent with a belief but cannot thereby claim it is True with a capital T.  Even the claim of consistency is a judgment call.  It often involves willfully ignoring some inconsistent evidence rivals might consider weighty.    The next time someone shows you supposedly incontrovertible evidence that the Bible cannot be trusted, and that science has proved it wrong, don’t be so quick to believe the claim.  Like the father in the story above, go find out.  The Bible has withstood millennia of attacks from all sides.  Sometimes you may have to wait a few years for the scientific consensus to shift back, or for a volcano to blow the old theory up in smoke.  A world view worth living by is one that is rooted and grounded in conviction that has been tested by challenge.  Victorious faith requires both exercise and armor.  Young people should go to “world view boot camp” for both.  Exercise teaches one how to use the armor, and the sparring of ideas allows quality armor to show its true mettle.(Visited 61 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Easing the way for the disabled

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first_imgJanine ErasmusThe Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) has pledged to make its cultural institutions fully accessible to the disabled, and is certainly putting its money where its mouth is – so to speak. Minister of Arts and Culture Pallo Jordan announced in December that R162 million was to be made available to upgrade facilities at its public institutions in order to make them easily accessible to those with disabilities. It is crucial that every single visitor to South Africa is able to indulge freely in cultural tourism. This has been identified by DAC as an important sector for growth and is one of the focus areas of its Investing in Culture programme.DAC will spend R162-million over the next three years on its cultural facilities to ensure that disabled people will not be excluded from enjoying the services on offer. The minister announced the plan as part of Government’s ongoing plan to improve the plight of people with disabilities, adding that the funds will be allocated in three stages over the next three years – R39 million for 2008, R43 million for 2009 and R80 million for 2010.South Africa’s Constitution, hailed as one of the most progressive to be found anywhere, offers equal inclusion in all aspects of society to everyone – including those with disabilities. However, the disabled still find themselves hampered on occasion because South African society has in past years been geared mostly towards the able-bodied, and the basic requirements of those who use wheelchairs or other aids to get around were not always accommodated. With the launch of its new initiative DAC is upholding the principles of the Constitution in this regard.“We have detailed information on the provision that has been made for the upgrading of security and access for persons with disabilities at the Department’s public entities,” said Jordan. “These would include places like museums, playhouses and other institutions that bring people together to not only enjoy artistic expressions but witness and experience the heritage of our beautiful country.”With the likes of the Iziko Museums of Cape Town, the Northern Flagship Institution (a group of cultural institutions based mostly in the Gauteng area), the National Library of South Africa, and all of South Africa’s World Heritage Sites falling under the jurisdiction and care of DAC, these important elements of South Africa’s cultural heritage will soon be undergoing any necessary modifications to make them more accessible.According to Jordan, “The upgrade of security and accessibility for persons with disabilities is a priority to make the arts accessible to all the people of the country.”Currently there are several policies in place for the benefit of the disabled. South Africa passed the Bill of Rights in 1992 – in Section 9(3) of the South African Bill of Rights a statement declares that “the state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language, and birth.”Cabinet then passed the Integrated National Disability Strategy in 1997, a document that provides guidelines in order to help the country achieve a human rights-based model of disability inclusion in South African society. In his foreword to the White Paper on the Integrated National Disability Strategy, then Deputy President Thabi Mbeki wrote, “Research estimates that between 5 and 12% of South Africans are moderately to severely disabled. Despite this large percentage of disabled people, few services and opportunities exist for people with disabilities to participate equally in society.”The Integrated National Disability Strategy was followed a year later by the Employment Equity Bill, which prohibits unfair discrimination on any grounds in any employment policy or practice.It is mostly pre-1994 buildings that will need to be renovated and adapted, as later structures were put up with disabled access already in place, including those sponsored by the ministry. Among these are the Luthuli Museum in Kwa-Dukuza, KwaZulu-Natal, for instance, which was designed with disabled access right from the planning stage.At present the department is in the process of ascertaining the requirements of its public entities in terms of security and accessibility, while a service provider will be appointed in the near future to report on the current status.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Janine Erasmus at janinee@mediaclubsouthafrica.com. Useful linksDepartment of Arts and CultureDisabled People of South Africalast_img read more

‘GST revenue at an all-time low’

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first_imgThe revenue from the Goods and Services Tax has slipped by over ₹2,500 crore — to a 19-month low in September — and is showing no signs of recovery due to a massive tax fraud and overall “flaws in the system”, indicated West Bengal Finance and Industry Minister Amit Mitra in a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Mr. Mitra wrote the letter on Monday.The GST revenue slipped from ₹94,442 crore in September 2018 to ₹91,916 crore in September, 2019 — a drop of ₹2,526 crore. Highlighting the drop, Mr. Mitra argued that this “probably is the first time that monthly collections have been at an all-time low”. This collection, Mr. Mitra noted, is “even lower than the collection for July 2017, which was ₹92,283 crore”.“Though it has picked up slightly in October with ₹95,380 crore, it is still 5.29% below the collection of October 2018 which was ₹1,00,710 crore,” Mr. Mitra said. He underscored that despite his repeated warnings about “GST fraud and the flaws in the system… no discussion was held on this issue in the last GST Council meeting”. In his two-page letter, Mr. Mitra pointed at the problem of fake input tax credit that manufacturers and in turn dealers are entitled to for paying input taxes. He indicated that a network of fake ITC was snowballing in the country and yet “we continue to work in silos”.“A few days ago, Odisha SGST authorities detected a fraud worth ₹138 crore”, while in September searches carried out “in 336 locations across 15 States detected fake ITC worth ₹740 crore”. One person in Mumbai with credit of ₹93 crore and another person in a case worth ₹127 crore were arrested since September, Mr. Mitra noted. “Each and every State and the Central GST authorities are continually detecting fake invoices and absentee registered tax payers,” he wrote.No task force Since fake ITC means a loss of tax as it is “not backed by transaction in goods or services in reality”, such leakages are contributing to the “falling revenue trend,” Mr. Mitra noted. He regretted that “no task force [was] set up” to deal with the fraud as suggested by him earlier.last_img read more

French competition regulator ARCEP could force Can

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first_imgFrench competition regulator ARCEP could force Canal Plus to make details of the prices it offers for exclusive carriage of channels available to rival distribution platforms, enabling them to make counter offers, according to French financial daily Les Echos.ARCEP wants Canal Plus to create a ‘reference offer’ outlining the general principles under which it will carry a channel, and has said it wants to organise a public consultation on this, seeking the views of distributors and channel providers. According to Les Echos, the regulator wants Canal Plus to make the price it agrees with channels available to rivals, enabling them to make a counter offer. Until now, Canal Plus has been forced only to give a global figure for what it spent on channel distribution deals.Canal Plus may also be forced to make available the price distributors, including Canal Plus itself, pay for the exclusive distribution of its own channels as part of the reference offer.last_img read more

SPIFilmBox has signed a distribution agreement wi

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first_imgSPI/FilmBox has signed a distribution agreement with Salt Mobile.The deal will see Swiss telco Salt Mobile broadcast four thematic channels from SPI’s portfolio. The channels are: FunBox UHD, Fast&FunBox HD, FightBox HD and the newly launched esports channel Gametoon HD.All of the channels will be available in English, with FunBox UHD also available in German.Georgina Twiss, MD Western Europe and Africa at SPI International said: “SPI continues to invest and expand its reach in Western Europe. Today, I am proud to announce our new agreement with Salt. As of June, four thematic channels will be available in Switzerland for Salt’s subscribers, with its young and dynamic target audience I am sure that they will all hit the mark.”Salt Mobile SA is the third largest mobile operator in Switzerland, with 16.3% of the market share. It offers prepaid and roaming packs, unlimited call plans, international calling packs, internet packs, TV on the move, and broadband calling services for phone calls and text messages.last_img read more

DERRY WOMANS DEAR ADELE LETTER OVER HER CHEATIN

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first_imgDERRY WOMAN’S ‘DEAR ADELE’ LETTER OVER HER CHEATING FIANCE GOES VIRAL was last modified: December 4th, 2015 by John2John2 Tags: DERRY WOMAN’S ‘DEAR ADELE’ LETTER OVER HER CHEATING FIANCE GOES VIRALSTEPHANIE POPE Stephanie Pope with her husband on their wedding dayA woman from Derry’s personal but graphic account about her split from her cheating fiance has gone viral on the internet.Stephanie Boyd penned a letter last night to blockbuster singer to reveal that her TV performance at the Brit Awards of ‘Someone Like You’ had helped her through her split.Adele’s Belfast show at the SSE Arena sold out this morning in 20 minutes as eager fans snapped up the tickets.In her letter, which is extremely graphic and not for the faint hearted, Stephanie wrote: “I made my way to the kitchen bin where I puked my guts up and pissed my pants whilst doing so, I stumbled into the living room and pressed play on your recorded performance of ‘someone like you’ on the TV.“I sang and cried at the top of my lungs, believing I was you as I belted out every word to the bastard In the doorway looking at me with disgust!“He closed the door on me and went to bed! I didn’t give a shit, I was pissed and I was a woman, with feelings, and a heart, and I deserved better.“All I needed was me and you, because you understood! Lol!! We connected that night! ShareTweet “There I was with dog shit on my shoes, sick on my dress, standing in pissy tights and pants, with zero dignity and not knowing a fuck what I was gonna do now. But in that instant you became me and I became you!!“Feels like a million years ago now but I just wanted you to know about it!!“I’m now free of the ratbag ex fiancée and his (still secret) love child, totally cured and healed by the man of my dreams, my best buddy (and now husband). Thanks for helping me through it all.All my love, respect and deepest thanks.Stephanie. “Dear Adele.“I had just split up with my 2 timing, lying, cheating dirt bag of a fiancée 2 weeks previous when you sang at the Brit Awards.“I still lived with the prick and went on a ‘fuck you and your secret love child’ night out with my mates. I had got pissed as a newt in an hour! Ya know when they say you get pissed quicker when your an emotional wreck?!.. Yeah it was one of those nights.“Anyway, in my black dress, black tights, black heels, I came home crashing through the front door absolutely wasted, obliviously trailing dog shit on my shoes, right through my lovely hallway.last_img read more