Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 18:10:35 -0800
To: Andrew Arensburger <arensb@cfar.umd.edu>
From: David McDougall
Subject: Re: Darwin fishes etc.

Andrew,

I too apologize for the length, but if this is to be our last
correspondence, then there are some things which should not go unsaid.  I
hope you'll read on.

At 10:44 AM 1/22/98 -0500, Andrew Arensburger wrote:
>Besides, this discussion is
>going pretty much the way I was afraid it would.

>	Since then you've failed to provide any substantial support
>for these assertions, preferring instead to attack the theory of
>Evolution.

Two things;  1)  What are you "afraid of" with regard to the things
presented? 2)  How is it possible that you missed the fact that an
explanation as to why I have accepted the creation evidence, both from the
biblical perspective, (why I believe that to be so) and why equally valid
scientific observation reveals answers more complete and consistant with
creationism is not an attack?

>	As I've pointed out to you before, merely disproving Evolution
>would not prove Genesis. Even if you argue that "creation" and
>"evolution" are the only alternatives, I can give you a hundred
>creation scenarios. You still need to show why yours is correct.

Merely disproving evolution is a start.  Have I?  If creation is left, then
where might I find a reliable source of information from which to base my faith?

I'll let you answer, since I don't want to be perceived as an "attacker,"
but a defender.  If you really feel that my approach is wrong and God judges
it the same, then the responsibility and punishment lies on me.  Instead of
letting my failings suffice as a reason to believe what seems right in your
own eyes, why not just look objectively at the evidence itself?

Did I ever tell you that I was an evolutionist at one time?  Did I ever tell
you that I have not always been a Christian, not even most of my life?

Not all people claiming Christ are Christians.  Jesus said so Himself.  My
passion is to point to His teachings and what He has done.  I hope to gain
nothing at all from this and have no agenda but to compel folks to look at
His life and His teachings.  I'm willing to start from whatever perspective
the observer is most familiar with.  Everything needed to discuss any topic
known to man is found in the Bible and truly objective observation only
helps to strengthen it.  I'm not asking you to take my word for it, but that
is what I have found.

I believe that this is what you would find also if you were willing to
overcome some of the pain of letting go of preconception, (been there and
done that... I empathize with you), and just considering the overwhelming
nature of all the evidence, (not just the creation).

>	Insofar as you've argued in favor of creation, your argument
>has basically been that it's true because it says so in the Bible, and
>the Bible is the inspired word of God and is to be taken literally.
>You've given a few arguments to support this, none of which are very
>convincing:
>	1) The Bible makes a number of predictions, all of which came
>true.

>	Unfortunately, if a book claims that X will happen, and later
>claims that X did happen, that doesn't mean anything.

There is perhaps much that you are not educated on with regard to how the
Bible came into print and the proven dates of the original prophecies and
the extra- biblical; even hostile historic accounts which provid evidence of
their eventual fulfillments.  In fact, even the best efforts of "antis" to
place the prophecies of Isaiah, for instance, earlier than 650 years or so
before Christ can still only claim 150 to 200 years before He came to this
earth.  The things written in there, to the careful student, reveal
absolutely remarkable and unprecedented parallels to His life and the events
surrounding it.

Flavius Josephus, a first century JEW admits in his writings that Isaiah had
been the prophet which his people had studied looking for the prophesied
Messiah since the times of Ezra and Nehemiah, (about 500 years B.C.; when
they started looking).  The Dead Sea scrolls support this also, including
the fact that the entire prophecy is intact WORD FOR WORD as it is read
today and in 1947 when the evidence was finally uncovered.

The prophet is the most quoted in the New Testament and is the one whose
writings were most commonly known by the Jews of Christ's time.  In fact, it
was by his prophecy that the apostles and early converts were most able to
show those educated in Judaeism that Christ and those around Him (even those
against Him) had fulfilled those prophecies so convincingly, that He HAD to
be the one.

What is interesting to note is that Jews no longer have this regard for
Isaiah.  Many even deny the writings as authentic, making the assumption
that HAD to be written after the fact because it was just too perfectly
mated with the life of Christ, not to mention the time frame, rise and fall
of nations starting with Babylon under Nebuchadnezar and the kingdom
structure of Rome that would be present at the time of Messiah prophesied by
Daniel, (contemporary of Ezra).  Well, the Dead Sea Scrolls and their own
historians have proven that this is simply not the case.  The writings
preceded Christ, spoke of Him, his life, his crucifixion, the events
surrounding it and His resurrection.

>	2) The Bible, in all its many sequential translations, has
>never changed its meaning.

There are more than 5,300 original first century parchments of the
scriptures found in the bible.  No other work of man has been so preserved.
No work of man has been preserved so "to the letter."  Especially not one
that govenrments and rulers sought to destroy.  Roman emporers managed to
destroy every speck of ancient knowledge stored in Egyptian libraries,
(except that which the likes of Socrates and Aristottle stole for their
own), yet overlooked 5,300 PLUS painfully documented scriptures.

Shakespear's writings, for instance, are only found preserved in about 900
contemporary parchments and are so riddled with changes and deletions that
many argue his authorship of the plays and the original words.  Homer's
work, while being a bit older, was regarded all over the world as the book
of the gods.  It was the pagan bible.  There should be twenty times more
copies of it preserved than the bible considering the overwhelming support
that it had.  There are only about 2,800.  They show massive evidence of
alteration over the years as well.

Even recent works such as the Book of Mormon, the Watchtower Bible (New
World Translation), the Q'ran (700 A.D.) and other so called "new
revelations" are found to have "evolving truths" in them.  In other words,
if it was true in the beginning, its still true... but they changed it.
Exactly none of these things are found to be true concerning the Bible
documents, (the Bible being a compilation of many books having passed very
stringent authenticity criteria including the preservation of more than one
document, the changing of a word in any of those documents and other
information supporting the time and circumstances under which they were
first issued).  These are just a few facts concerning this.

>	This is, in a word, false. I'll grant you that, given the
>nature of the work, copyists through the ages may have felt tremendous
>pressure to make exact copies, but changes still abound, and one can
>find any number of contradictions. In particular, I believe that
>someone is offering a $1000 prize to anyone who can come up with a
>chronology of Easter that's consistent with all four of the gospels.

For one thing, the original Greek word is pascha.  It means passover.  Why
would the Jews insist the Romans wait until after the pagan holiday whereby
Ishtar, the goddess of fertility was worshipped to kill Peter?  No, they
were concerned about the Passover, they were Jewish.  Now, King James might
have liked the celebration of Easter, but thankfully, the original documents
are preserved and widely available by way of lexicon for study.

As to the "differences" in the gospels, I can assure you that, taken into
account as a whole, the differences add up to one complete picture with not
a single contradiction in the order of events.  There may be more or less
data on a given subject based on the purpose for the specific account, but
none of those things debunk the others and none change the context of their
meaning.  The one offering the $1,000 is also the one who validates the
explanation... not a very valid test of exegesis, but I'd be happy to share
the "$1,000" explanation with you if you want to study the Bible.

>	If the text of the Bible had remained intact in all of its
>myriad versions, as you claim, why would anyone need or want a
>concordance? Why would the authors of the NIV and other modern
>translations make such a big deal out of going back to the oldest
>available manuscripts?

....because uninspired men make mistakes.  Christians want to know what
Jesus and His inspired apostles and prophets taught.  The original greek and
aramaic are no longer spoken, hence, the languages do not include words that
have taken on new meanings.  It is still possible for those who care, (we'll
call them Christians... in the biblical sense not the political so-called
"Christian Coalition" sense, a term and institution which I despise although
I stand in agreement with them on several of the issues), to study the
original meaning and intent.  It keeps translators "honest," so to speak
since faithful followers would not accept a mere "interpretation" and even
when they try and shade a point or two, it is usually meaningless.

The "Easter" example above is probably the most egregious word "translation"
ever put in a "faithful translation," yet it does not change the fact that
Jesus' prophecy that Peter would be crucified as He was came true, nor has
it stopped people who are truly dedicated to the truth from knowing it...
and admitting it.

>	3) Archeology supports the Bible (this next quote immediately
>follows the previous one).
>
>> (and archaeology has proven more than once that
>> the info has been kept intact almost to the letter, but certainly to the
>> word).
>
>	Without a doubt, the Bible has been invaluable to
>archeologists, since it describes cities and kings, and generally
>provides hints as to where to dig. But the same is true of the epic of
>Gilgamesh and any number of other documents.
>	But you can't say that this proves that *everything* in the
>Bible is true. Otherwise, you could take Anne Rice's "Interview With
>the Vampire," notice that its description of 18th century New Orleans
>is quite accurate, and conclude that vampires must exist as well.

Archeologists have also been bitten by the Bible evidence having denied the
existance of the Hittites for years, "proving" the inaccuracy of the
Bible.... until they found the evidence in abundance right where the Bible
said it would be.  My purpose for referencing this was primarily concerning
the Dead Sea scrolls, but there is more than I can renumerate.

>	If you want to show to an "honest, rational, thinking human
>being" that God exists, I'm afraid you're going to have to come up
>with something more concrete.

How about answering, (and admitting), that evolutionists have themselves
falsified evolution and recognizing as the leading scientists of the faith
have said rather clearly, that "special creation" is the only other
alternative?  It may be that you haven't seen enough evidence yet... but I
have offered you an opportunity to look at the best evidence any creationist
will ever be able to show you... without one mention of the Bible.

If you really are after the truth, this should excite, not intimidate you.
What more can I do seeing as I am not as educated as other men and not the
BEST authority on the subject?  I've read after "your best."  Will you give
yourself the same chance?  I don't anticipate any hostility on either of our
parts.  I communicate far better in person than I do in e-mail.  I'm sure
you do too.  Let's give it a try!

>	You've mentioned the argument from design, namely "biological
>systems are complex, therefore they must have been designed." This is
>just a variant on the argument from personal incredulity: "I don't see
>how X could have happened, therefore it didn't." I hope you'll forgive
>me if I don't find this terribly convincing.

I have only challenged you to give scientific evidence supporting any other
conclusion.  In effect, what you see is what you get.  We don't see design
without a designer in science or any other objective study.

Complexity is not the only thing we see either.  You left out codependant
systems in living organisms.  I know you skirt the "beginning" issue, but
evolution, if true, should follow through back to the beginning.

Truth be told, the modern thoery of evolution is a doctrine that became
popular at a time when justification to treat black humans as beasts of
burden was being sought.  (You may remember Lincoln's exploitation of the
South's insistance on keeping slaves in order to thwart British military
support around the same time frame).  It was easier to argue if science
could "prove" that they were just an inferior evolution of the apes.

This mode of thinking is still prevalent as even the President defended
affirmative action as the reason why the likes of Colin Powell could rise to
the prominance that he did.  WHAT AN ARROGANT, INHUMAN INSULT!!!! (Shouting)
Besides which, affirmative action wasn't initiated until after Gen. Powell
was well on his way through the ranks.  The ONLY reason a man could make
such a statement about Gen. Powell is if he believed the black race to be
inferior.  By the same token, what other reason could Darwin and his
supporters have had for implying that the black race is either an
under-evolved human or sophisticated ape?

Of course, if the theory had any credibility at all, humans and apes, being
supposed species of the same family, would be able to produce offspring.
The fact is, no man, not even a black one can produce anything but an AIDS
epidemic from trying.  You may think this an attack, but it is a fact that
you will have to deal with if you want to know ~everything~ that the theory
entails.

>	In brief--and I'm sorry for having gone on at such length, but
>I didn't want you to think that I'm taking you lightly, since you're
>more intelligent and polite than some people I've talked to--it
>doesn't seem as if you have anything new to contribute to the
>discussion. You believe in the inerrant, literal truth of the Bible,
>and you're free to do so. You see a conflict between Genesis and
>conventional science, and choose to dismiss the latter.

Andrew, while you are entitled to this opinion, I would like to point out
that I have nothing against using conventional science to explore the
universe.  I believe in the integrity of the scientific process.  I just
wish it were adhered to in reaching conclusions.  Conventional science
demands strict procedures, especially when establishing doctrine on the
basis of models and the falsification thereof.  Conventional science
falsifies evolution, there are quotes by several evolutionists including
Niles Eldridge that essentially admit this, but for some reason, (money?
position? lack of desire to submit to a higher authority? I don't know...),
evolution marches on.

> You are free
>to do so, of course, but without some objective evidence to back up
>your views, please don't expect me to accept them.

I have given you a mere smattering of very good reasons to reject the
evolutionary theory.  As I have stated, I'm willing to share many more with
you if you're willing to take a look.  As to your accepting "my views" with
regard to God and His word, please realize that I have never desired such a
thing.  My concern for you, is that you would consider the fact that the
views are His.  Either way, good science falsifies evolution.  Of this I am
most assuredly convinced... without ever picking up a Bible.

>	If you want to continue this discussion, you may want to take
>a look at the talk.origins FAQs at http://www.talkorigins.org/ . I
>doubt this'll change your mind, but at least it'll tell you what "the
>opposition" believes, and why; not to mention what is expected of
>Creationism if it is to be taken seriously as a scientific theory.

One last plea, Andrew.  If you have found me to be polite and educated, (and
I assure you that I can't hold a candle to Don Patton), then give me a
chance to share just one of the video series with you.  Why let others set
the criteria for accepting Creationism for you?  Why not let science provide
a real evaluation of the facts?  Dr. Patton never once quotes the Bible in
his discussions, but he does quote all of the major Evolutionists... over
and over again.  He uses their findings, their criteria, their model and
their own contradictions of all these things to include their own words of
confession that they have found sound evidence for creation.  We're talking
Gould, Eldridge, Dawkins, Darwin himslef...  They have all established sound
criteria for falsifying evolution, but refused to accept the evidence,
instead coming up with more criteria, each more non-testable than the last.
Will you let them be the founders of your faith?  Aren't you more honest
than that?

To close with a statement from Jesus, "...ye shall know the Truth and the
Truth shall make you free."

Hoping you'll consider a look.... Dave
David McDougall

Chapter 8 | Chapter 10