Creationism, Christians, and Honesty

I just did today, and you claimed that it applies to Jews, remember? What about that teaching applies to you, today?

Not quite. I know a whole range of scientific conclusions that support the traditional religious belief that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God and that a wooden, literal meaning of the text does not bring harm to the science.

Since a literal 4500 year ago Noah’s Flood was disproven by Christian geologists well over two centuries ago I’d say your claim is vastly inaccurate.


If they were making that kind of argument, they should be support it with evidence or literature citations. I would be looking at those rather than at the beliefs of the scientist.

If the provided evidence did not actually support the argument, then yes, I might wonder about the author’s beliefs. But even then it wouldn’t be a concern about Christian or atheist; it would be a concern about a possible anti-evolution bias.


The religious views of scientists who formulate the scientific consensus is of no importance to the scientific community. What matters is the validity and evidence base of that consensus.

Let’s say my biochemistry professor tells me in class that it is universally agreed by all biochemists (including those who are Christian) that most proteins will become denatured if they are exposed to extreme environmental conditions. The next day, I go into the lab, isolate and purify a number of different proteins. I check for their activity under different, extreme, physical conditions and see if that consensus holds up. If it works, then I slightly agree with the consensus. I scour the literature for similar experiments and see that thousands of proteins have been investigated and the consensus still holds up. At the end, I support that consensus.


Could you list some?

This is ridiculous. The article @Mercer linked to has two close-up views of the fault hinge, one from AiG and one from elsewhere. There is an obvious fracture shown in the latter, which is hidden in Snelling’s picture by some-one who is sitting in front of it.

The hinge doesn’t look cracked in Snelling’s picture because the cracks have been concealed.



I presume you mean that you were wrong in your assumptions of whether I discriminate against Christians when assessing scientific literature. Which is fine, but I’d rather you consider whether you are wrong in your own attitude in this regard.

Let’s substitute one word in your original statement and see if it helps:

“And I’d rather give Christians the benefit of the doubt rather than a scientific consensus that’s dominated by Jews.”

Is that a reasonable and defensible attitude?


Congratulations, you found 1 (one) crack. Now you have a hard job ahead:

  1. Quote Snelling where he said there would be zero cracks.
  2. Prove that Snelling located that person in the picture deliberately to cover that crack.

I would be glad to but I have already done it repeatedly on this forum. No need for redundancy. Right? I would make an exception for one really seeking truth, however, and not just consensus.

I am with r_speir on this one. This debate about whether someone was sitting on purpose on the outcrop to hide a feature is quite silly. On field trips people sit on outcrops all the time, sometimes on purpose (to provide a sense of scale on a photograph) and sometimes just because they want to sit somewhere.

The real problem I have with the dicsussion is that people read way too much in an outcrop picture. Sure, you can often see gross features on photographs and that is nice and useful, but if you want to do a detail study and properly describe and interpret the outcrop you don’t do that from a photograph. You go there in person and spend the time to study the details. There may be fractures there or there may not be, but deciding this from a photograph like this is simply a travesty.

The same with the broader issue of the origin of the structure. You need a lot more detailed observation at a range of scales (all the way from regional down to microscopic) before you can make a stab at deciding that particular question. If someone would try and do that from just a photograph I would give them a ‘F’ grade right there and then.

There are more, but 1 (one) suffices to refute Snelling’s claim.

That’s not hard. In fact, you quoted it yourself: Notice that these sandstone layers were bent 90° (a right angle), yet the rock was not fractured or broken at the hinge of the fold. Not fractured means zero fractures.

Obviously I can’t prove it, since proof is impossible in such instances. It’s an inference from the convenient positioning and unnatural postures of multiple people combined with Snelling’s false description that is transparently incorrect if those people are not so positioned.

But you haven’t mentioned the really hard task: to get you to retract even the glaringly obvious.


Ok, @swamidass and @thoughtful

In Genetic Entropy, p23, Sanford writes - “In Kimura’s figure, he does not show any mutations to the right of zero – there are zero beneficial mutations shown. He obviously considered beneficial mutations so rare as to be outside of consideration.”

Here is Kimura’s paper that Sanford is referencing:

Now, I’m not trained in biology (my degree is EE), so Swamidass can correct me if I’m wrong on interpreting this paper, but what I get from it is that Kimura is developing a simple mathematical model for neutral theory. He states in a section talking about why he didn’t include beneficial mutations on the figure:

“This means that the rate of evolution can become enormously high in a very large population, kg being directly proportional to Ne, contrary to actual observations.” (p4 in pdf, p3443)

My understanding of that is that beneficial mutations blow up his model, making it unrealistic to what we tend to actually see. They have too much effect on his model. That’s why he didn’t include them in the figure.

Then in the conclusion of the paper, Kimura writes:

“Finally, there is one biological problem that we have to consider. Under the present model, effectively neutral, but, in fact, very slightly deleterious mutants accumulate continuously in every species. The selective disadvantage of such mutants (in terms of an individual’s survival and reproduction-i.e., in Darwinian fitness) is likely to be of the order of 10^-5 or less, but with 10^4 loci per genome coding for various proteins and each accumulating the mutants at the rate of 10^-6 per generation, the rate of loss of fitness per generation may amount to 10^-7 per generation. Whether such a small rate of deterioration in fitness constitutes a threat to the survival and welfare of the species (not to the individual) is a moot point, but this will easily be taken care of by adaptive gene substitutions that must occur from time to time (say once every few hundred generations).” (p5 in pdf, p3444)

My understanding (again, untrained, so please correct me if I’m wrong, Swamidass) is that “adaptive gene substitutions” are beneficial mutations, and that Kimura is saying that beneficial mutations would overcome the effects of deleterious mutations - exactly the opposite of what Sanford is using this paper to argue.

My other claim of dishonesty (because as a scientist, he should know better) is this graph on page 155 of Genetic Entropy:


On the left side, he plots specific ages of certain patriarchs mentioned in the Bible, but on the right side he uses average lifespan of a Roman rather than specific ages (why not the apostle John, who likely lived into his 90’s?). So he changed what he was plotting, not to mention there being no indication of what the average lifespan was at various points, except Moses (who died at 120) saying in Psalm 90:10 that average lifespan was 70, 80 if you’re strong. Sounds pretty similar to today. Nothing new under the sun. Another Biblical issue is that if everyone normally lived 120 years like Moses, the wilderness wandering would have needed to be more like 100 years instead of 40, since the purpose of the wandering was for the Exodus generation of adults (those who were older than 20) to die naturally. Only the next generation would enter the land. Sanford makes a big deal out of this being an exponential decay curve (sorry, I don’t have any quotes from the book on that part… just the graph), but if you take any random set of generally declining numbers, you can fit an exponential decay curve to it. So he makes it sound significant, when it really isn’t. A scientist of his caliber knows better, especially the changing of what he’s plotting in the middle of the graph!

@dsterncardinale posted a bunch about this on Reddit and gave us this summary link in one of the other threads:


This is correct. Kimura excluded beneficials from his model not because they’re so rare that they don’t matter, but because they overwhelm the thing he was trying to model - neutral evolution. Sanford claims the exact opposite, even after being directly corrected, going so far as to say “Kimura would have drawn the curve as I did”, which…not according to Kimura. Personally, I have to conclude that Sanford is just being dishonest about this.


Far more likely than dishonesty is Morton’s Demon.

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Snelling never said that and I don’t think Snelling would have asserted such an impossible thing as that because he is a geologist after all. What I think is really happening here is that you are attempting to hold him to a standard not expected in the realm of geology, namely, because you do not know how totally unexpected it would be geologically to find a mere single crack in a 90 degree fold!

In looking at that picture, you are witnessing a distinct geological anomaly and you don’t even recognize it.

He repeats his argument here:

There are only two ways this might have happened, as given below.
The first explanation would be that the mathematical nature of the decline arose because all these data points, scattered in various books of the Old Testament, were fabricated by a sophisticated and scheming single author. That such an author would need to be a skilled mathematician. Moreover, he or she would need to be driven by the malevolent ambition of deceiving the world into believing that, since the time of Noah, human fitness has been undergoing a very dramatic and very specific exponential decay process.
The second explanation would be that the mathematical nature of the declining lifespans arose because the Biblical accounts are true, and are actually faithfully recording the historical unfolding of some fundamental natural degenerative process.

As anyone familiar with regression would recognize, this whole argument was fabricated by a sophisticated and scheming author. @Boscopup is absolutely correct. There is nothing special about this curve fitting, especially given the cherry picking of data points.

I read this paper before I had any idea who Sanford was, and thought at the time that he was a hack that even YEC would ignore. Now he is a darling.


Why would that stop him?

He’s not being dishonest, he’s just being very religious. This is what it is like to become very religious. You lose the ability to think rationally on the topic of your religion. That’s why terms like “he’s made it his religion” exists, because it is within common human experience that religion can make people crazy. If someone is treating something (their favorite sports team, some political party or figure, an economic system or philosophy like Marxism or Capitalism) as if it was their religion, that is pretty much equivalent to saying they can’t be reasoned with on this topic. Sanford is wearing his YEC-colored glasses, and they filter out light that is polarized towards not confirming young Earth creationism.


I think that that is an unfair characterisation about religion, but correct to some extent. I think it is an issue with any in-group out-group mentality where there is an opportunity for polarisation such as you highlighted. It also lumps people together more than I am comfortable with - there are some very erudite and careful thinkers who are Christian… that said their are also many examples that fit in with what you are saying
I suspect religion is more liable to overly blinkered feeling than some things, largely because of the social implications of changing views when your peers in your social group are against the new view you may hold. I personally had to leave a church over doctrine in the past and found it very hard to suddenly lose a lot of the people I used to be with

I am also not convinced that using a popular expression to give an insight into anything is particularly helpful, even if interesting.

I haven’t read any of Sanford’s work and probably won’t, so am not commenting on that. Just registering a discomfort at the lumping there.