Is Intelligent Design really just Old Earth Creationism?

I got this astute blog comment from Frank Morris:

“I was so impressed by your debate with Stephen Meyer that I finally bought your Evolution 2.0 book. I can’t wait to read it to see how it compares with my own journey getting kicked around by hostile Darwinians on blogs as I continued to question their seemingly crazy theory.

“Stephen Meyer, on the other hand, was profoundly disappointing. I rejected ID over 10 years ago, but I always thought that, in principle, the concept of ID accepted any form of intelligent cause, not just the God answer. The reality of cellular intelligence has forced the Discovery Institute to expose their bluff. Dr. Meyer seems to be trying to change it from ID to OD, a step up to Omniscient Design.

“He’s wrong. Omniscient means all-knowing. Cells, who are clearly rearranging their own genomes, are very intelligent, but not omniscient.

“Cells are not gods, as another responder suggested. They are intelligent little critters trying their best to survive, but they don’t simply know all things by omniscience. They use internal homeostatic systems, environmental monitoring systems and intercellular communication to establish their needs and responses to need. So they need to SEEK information about their external and internal status, which means they don’t just magically know all things. On top of that is the lack of the perfection one would expect of omniscience. Thanks for the article.”

I replied back to Frank:

Bingo, Frank, you hit it right on the head. YES YES YES YES.

You would think that “intelligent design” simply should have meant that the same principles employed in engineering, music, architecture etc. are also at work in living systems, so therefore life cannot be understood in purely reductionist terms. One would have thought that the ID crowd simply wanted the world to embrace an holistic understanding of nature. And that they would be happy for us to have done that.

The Discovery Institute people are NOT happy with my view of biology, where the intelligence resides in the cells. They consider that heresy.

What this debate shows is that Intelligent Design a la Discovery Institute is actually Old Earth Creationism. Also, my debates with Stephen Meyer have also made it clear to me that a large number of Discovery Institute supporters are actually Young Earth Creationists.

You are right on the money sir. This is why ID as it currently defines itself will never become accepted by the majority of scientists. A scientist must discover natural processes using the scientific method. That is his job. Otherwise, no paycheck.

One time I said to one of the Discovery Institute employees: “James Shapiro at the University of Chicago has a decent fighting chance of getting his view of evolution accepted by the academy, because his approach is entirely compatible with the scientific method. But your version will never be accepted by mainstream science. Ever.”

In November the Royal Society Meeting showed that Shapiro, Noble, Jablonka and the other Third Way scientists are making admirable headway in getting their program accepted by the mainstream.

But at the end of the day the Discovery Institute, instead of healing the war between science and religion, is actually perpetuating it.

Yes, Frank, your understanding of cells is very much the same as mine.

Thanks for buying Evolution 2.0, I believe you will enjoy it. Welcome to the blog and don’t be a stranger.

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155 Responses

  1. Phil Jones says:

    “This is why ID as it currently defines itself will never become accepted by the majority of scientists. A scientist must discover natural processes using the scientific method. That is his job. Otherwise, no paycheck.”

    Surely this is the problem. It is self limiting. Insisting on the above, closes all other avenues of investigation. If the truth lies outside of this method we are doomed to ignorance. Or am I mising somethig here?

    • I replied to another guy today:

      What you are saying sounds good on the surface but it’s at odds with the views of classical scientists like Copernicus and Newton, who viewed science as a view into the mind of God.

      You ask a very important question:

      “‘How does He sustain it all?’ Is this by small but significant interventions now and then, or has He built into life the resilience and adaptabiity for the perpetuation and survival of all that is living? If He has then science will always on its own, fail.”

      Newton thought that God occasionally pushed the planets back in place, but Laplace corrected his math and showed it’s not necessary.

      I believe God has given nature the ability to sustain and develop itself (which I feel is entirely consistent with the Biblical assertion that God sustains everything – through the constancy of the laws of nature) and THIS view of nature gives us the capacity to decode and uncover its mysteries.

      If God is constantly tinkering with nature when we are not looking, then science degenerates into meaningless speculation.

      This is not a trivial question. It’s one of the most important questions in all of science, and it’s a question of whether Christians are going to participate in the scientific enterprise, or if, preferring outdated notions of how God works in the world, recuse ourselves to the ghettos of their own imaginations and impractical mysticism.

      It is true that we know very little but we can discover much more if we presume that God has granted nature great power.

      • Joel says:

        I would be interested to hear your thoughts on dynamo theory vs. magnetic field decay as well as harmful genetic mutations in subsequent generations of humans. Thanks for your time.

      • Mike Bay says:

        “If God is constantly tinkering with nature when we are not looking, then science degenerates into meaningless speculation.” Human creativity is all about TINKERING. Artists tinker. Sports car mechanics tinker. Scientists tinker. Artistry and tinkering go hand in hand… I view the almighty creator God as the master artist. We have been created in the creator’s image. God created on a magnificent scale. We create on a limited scale… So who are we to say that the master creator did not tinker? Like an artist… The Biblical record suggests that the creator God did his work in a progressive fashion. It wasn’t ‘poof’. It took place over time. We can disagree as to what the time elements were. But it’s clear that the master artist did what he did over time… I think the synthesis here is that the creator God originated biological life that could respond to it’s environment. The environment here is hostile to life. Life adjusts to the hostility. God could have created life that was static and unchangeable but such life would have been extinguished long ago. Life changes and to think that God created life was the capacity to change is not unreasonable. Your studies support that premise… The big question is the advancement in complexity. Was complexity advancement merely a series of advancements in a hostile environment? I think not. If the creator God could originate the first living cell, it is not unreasonable to think he could also design the host of complex biomachines in cells and the complex regulatory intercellular interactions… I would posit that the genome research will eventually unearth the points in genetic development at which the creator God touched life. There is nothing unscientific about looking for historical evidence. If God did in fact touch life through the eons of time, then it is reasonable to think that the touching has been recorded in the genetic record… We just have to look for it… Does this stifle science? Heaven no! Think of it as reverse engineering. We all dream about finding a UFO machine and then reverse engineering it to discover the mysteries of the universe. That probably won’t happen but we can dive into the genetic record to discover the mysteries of our past… And what if we do in fact discover points in genetic time at which the creator touched life. What will we have discovered? We may in fact have discovered optimal complex machinery design before it was degraded by evolution. Might the original designs be beneficial today. Maybe yes… It is not unreasonable to think that the creator’s original designs have all been degraded over time by mutations. The best mutated forms have survived but still they are mutated forms. What is we knew the original designs? No one is asking that question. Not yet…

      • Morry says:

        Same old same old. So who created god, answer= Humans. End of story.

        • Emma says:

          God has no creator. He has been here forever. He is the creator. But let me ask you this one question, do you really think an explosion could create life? I personally don’t think so. Humans, I know for a fact, are extremely incapable of making a perfect God. Please comment correctly next time.

      • Kim Otten says:

        I’m not sure I understand your answer to Phil Jones, Perry. I have no problem with your comments about early scientists who viewed science as “a view into the mind of God.”

        I also share your belief that God doesn’t “tinker” with nature, but has instead created it with an incredible ability to adapt & evolve.

        I’m just not sure how that applies to his question about science being a closed system & not the only source of knowledge?

        Do you believe differently, or just understand his question differently? Can you help me understand?

        • Science is certainly not the only source of knowledge. Science rests on mathematics, which strictly speaking is not science. We can extend that to logic, etc.

          And I agree that science is very limited in what it can accomplish.

          So one can accuse my bias for naturalism as being unfair. To that I reply that I have seen all too many cases of people ascribing the natural engineering capabilities of living things to miraculous acts of God and this is a mistake.

    • Thomas Quine says:

      Perry has elsewhere stated, “So I don’t think it’s a mistake to infer design. What I do think is a mistake is to inject artificial limitations to the grandeur of what is really going on.” (Meyer Debate post)

      The prescriptions to only infer causes that lend themselves easily to further scientific studies or to infer only “front-loaded” design are the actual limitations, and insisting on those to the exclusion of “other avenues of investigation” could doom one to ignorance and constitute “artificial limitations.” For that matter, so with the limitation of science to whatever currently attracts funding. Also the limitation of science to whatever the current consensus can imagine becoming more than a minority research program. These are all artificial limitations that potentially subject Big Science to the “streetlight effect.” Even Isaac Newton somehow avoided being doomed to ignorance in spite of committing the unpardonable transgression of “letting a Divine Foot in the door,” in spite of making a mistaken inference to intervention. Neo-Darwinism has been parasitizing the design heuristic (in an ultra-weak way) for years. Selection-did-it gave them a Watchmaker that could explain design everywhere, but in such a ramshackle way that they were constantly amazed at just how sophisticated the designs were. Soon, instead of selection we may have X-did-it, where X is some combination of mechanisms (possibly unknown–just give us a few decades more–we mean it this time) that together can eventually explain everything. I can attribute it all to X because I get paid to do X-of-the-gaps. Such optimism for X is fine; put your money on that, but don’t put mine.

    • Dwight says:

      To the contrary, not doomed to ignorance but rather reliant on religious faith. TINWWT.

    • Kim Otten says:

      I fully agree Phil Jones. Science for all its benefits, simply can’t explain everything because not everything is observable. History is one of those, but even something as simple as a line extending to infinity in both directions is not only indisputably possible, it is a necessary law of math! BUT no one has ever seen one, and that possibility can’t be scientifically proven.

      It’s foolish to even consider limiting all knowledge to what can be scientifically tested.

    • Abed Peerally says:

      ID is a myth as my current book ” In Search of Consciousness and the Theory of Everything” clearly states, available as ebook, soft and hard cover on Amazon, Kobo and Smashwords.This statement will be substantiated in my second book about the ultimate Theory of Everything, by next year.

    • Ed says:

      There never can be opposition between true science and religious belief. They both have the same TRUTH as their source.

  2. Daniel Arant says:

    Based on what I remember of the conversation, you (and the other listener) are mischaracterizing Dr. Meyer’s argument. Nowhere did he reject the notion of cellular intelligence as an explanatory tool in biology. His point was that a) its scope and power is as yet unproven and b) at best it pushes back the design question one step. Cellular intelligence cannot explain the origin of cellular intelligence. Just like Darwinians did, you are getting so swept up in the excitement of a new discovery that your are exaggerating its explanatory power in your imagination.

    I don’t know why people have such a hard time honestly representing the views of ID theorists.

    • Meyer rejected the idea that cellular intelligence could produce macro-evolution.

      I say that it can and in fact we have experimental evidence that this is true. New species in real time using symbiogenesis, hybridization etc.

      I do fully understand that cellular intelligence doesn’t explain the origin of cellular intelligence. And while Intelligent Design may be a correct ULTIMATE explanation for cellular intelligence, what Stephen Meyer is saying is that the emergence of life on earth is a series of miraculous events that cannot be observed or reproduced by scientists. I believe that is demonstrably wrong.

      I do not believe that I have misrepresented ID in any way, shape or form. I understand ID very very well. I would also like to remind everyone that Stephen Meyer claimed to NOT be making a God-of-Gaps argument when in fact he was doing precisely that.

      Just because an explanation is “inference to the best explanation” does not mean it’s not still a gaps argument.

      • Daniel Arant says:

        Thanks for your reply.

        What experiments do we have showing that cellular intelligence is implicated in symbiogenesis, or that symbiogenesis is even fuel for evolution? In the one experiment that symbiogenesis proponents have pointed me to, the output of the studied gene product went down by 50%.

        And what does hybridization have to do with cellular intelligence? I’m fascinated by both, so I’ll gobble up any material you can cite.

        What I heard from Dr. Meyer was that cellular intelligence is a fascinating and promising avenue of research. (Indeed, the first time I ever heard James Shapiro’s name was through his lips.) He just expressed skepticism that it explains the major information revolutions in the history of life.

        Inference to the best explanation is only a God-of-the-gaps argument if you offer it as a deductive proof rather than a probabilistic I inductive argument. ID theorists do the latter, not the former.

      • Ronbo says:

        How can you say it’s “demonstrably” wrong? You can’t demonstrate it and it’s never been demonstrated so how can you make a claim against it,

      • Thomas Quine says:

        I recently attended a play (“Disinherit the Wind”) by Matt Chait in L.A. (who is definitely NOT a creationist in any generally accepted sense) after which a group largely composed of ID people applauded a monistic take on ID—not because they think its monism is correct but because it showed a serious grasp of both ID and the academic freedom that is desired for it.

        There are many problems I have with the way ID is characterized on this site. (1) It is generally difficult (if not impossible) to have a clear discussion about the claims made concerning ID without first having a clear discussion of what constitutes “miraculous” and “supernatural” (and whatever other related terms) in a scientific or meta-scientific sense. I agree with what Paul Brown wrote on Meyer debate thread. You’ve defined god-of-the gaps so broadly that any abductive inference to X becomes an X-of-the-gaps if it’s possible for some new finding to make Y seem much likely than X. “Science” becomes by definition naturalism-of-the-gaps, with the gaps defined as anything not yet explained naturalistically (whatever “naturalistic” means). What Thomas Nagel writes here is a decent consideration of the “inference to best explanation”:

        (2) There are some implicit assumptions about the relationship of science to paychecks that seem both unrealistic and philosophically flawed (i.e. both descriptively and prescriptively deficient).

        (3) It is not clear to me that even a young earth creationist would disagree with macroevolution in the sense that I see it construed here. In the range of being a theistic evolutionist (in the Behe sense) to being a baraminologist, I there are people who are very interested in understanding what sorts of speciation are actually possible. It would be especially interesting to see you debate Cornelius Hunter, who draws very different conclusions from the same sorts of “overnight evolution” findings that you admirably draw attention to.

        (4) You don’t seem to appreciate—your disclaimer notwithstanding—why the appeal to smart cells comes across as question-begging to ID theorists. You seem to be attributing to cells not only some sort of mind but one which discovers and operates on deep insights into the relationship between its underlying architecture and the environment that it needs to survive in. “I can explain how origin of the species is possible naturally: A cell forms through chemical interactions and its progeny evolve to be so smart that its intelligence can cause a kind of thoughtful tinkering with its DNA. Then the evolution of body plans can occur and the eventual existence of a hairless ape that can figure out the Incompleteness Theorem is somehow entailed in the process.” All that explanation seems to accomplish is dividing the explanandum (proliferation of diverse complex organisms) into at least 2 explananda. If a software team recombined some existing software components and copied them into existing plane hardware that was already integrated as a plane, it would be an interesting technical challenge to produce a new working system that way, but it certainly wouldn’t show how easy it is for an airplane to form without reference to intentional “intervention” along its development. In fact, if the machine was doing most of its own reprogramming, it would *beg the question* of how it was possible for such a machine to have formed by itself or by the environment. All of this evokes the principle of the drunkard’s search—except maybe that instead of replying “this is where the light is” then answer may be “this is where the (public) funding is.”

        • Thomas,

          As I said in the Stephen Meyer debate, I am completely fine with intelligent design writ large, lower case i and d. But I am not in agreement with Intelligent Design a la Discovery Institute, which broadly is anti-evolution in its approach. Which is interesting considering that even a hardcore young earth creationist necessarily must embrace considerable evolution (macro) in order to get all the species of earth from Noah’s ark.

          The tendency of ID people to invoke God of Gaps arguments is considerable. I believe in God and I think everyone knows that and I believe the universe is profoundly ordered. It takes nothing away from God if God architected the first cell to be able to adapt into all the spectra of life we have to day. It also takes nothing away from God if God architected the universe to give birth to that first cell. The less God has to intervene, the more impressive the universe is.

          I fully understand ID and inference to best explanation, and I have made that argument at length, for example see But given that macro evolution is easily demonstrable and given that science may solve origin of life, I prefer to remain agnostic about whether it can be solved or not, and in fact encourage it to be solved, which I think is preferable. Again that takes nothing away from God. Darwinists underestimate nature, creationists underestimate God.

          My comment about science and paychecks is a ruthlessly pragmatic explanation for why scientists hate God of Gaps arguments. You may or may not like it but I think it’s pretty accurate.

          You are right when you say:

          It is generally difficult (if not impossible) to have a clear discussion about the claims made concerning ID without first having a clear discussion of what constitutes “miraculous” and “supernatural” (and whatever other related terms) in a scientific or meta-scientific sense.

          And the ID camp is such a large tent that there is no commonly accepted definition within the camp of what these things mean. That vagueness prevents mainstream science from embracing ID.

          • Thomas Quine says:

            It sounds as if you and Frank have attributed to cellular intelligence (or the Swiss army knife) the sort of superpowers you have accused Darwinists of attributing to natural selection. From a computer science perspective, it doesn’t make sense to propose that a cellular intelligence capable of intelligently modifying its own DNA arose through natural cascades of spontaneous chemical reactions without there already being some extraordinary evidence to that effect. If the cells contain the information necessary to modify their own information, how is that supposed to happen? How does cellular intelligence arise from non-intelligence? For similar reasons, I think that appealing to experiments that demonstrate how some cells can utilize other cells internally is question-begging (even though the finding is very cool). The ‘Swiss army knife’ of evolutionary mechanisms is not explained by anything, and does not explain itself. It doesn’t explain the existence of cells, and cells do not explain its existence. It may be more powerful than natural selection alone, but not obviously powerful to do be as omnipotent as Darwinists think natural selection, and certainly not powerful enough to give rise to itself. All these mechanisms are wonderful, but that wonder doesn’t make them sufficiently creative.

            Everything being built in from the start, as Michael Denton seems to lean toward, is certainly one way for a Creator to enact creation. However, I don’t see how there is anything particularly interesting about YECs believing in small scale evolution (other than that it exemplifies the woeful ignorance of the public about creationism). Arguing that it’s probably the way that God would do it because it must bring necessarily bring greater glory to God seems like a theological argument more than a scientific argument. No matter how figuratively you interpret Genesis 1, it describes God operating in progressive interventions. It’s possible that evolution occurred and that Genesis is describing something profound about progressive creation. But if there is no time-orderedness to it, what is the meaning of the text?

            That is just a theological problem. But there could also be scientific reasons for needing some intelligent effects after the Big Bang, and even after the first cell, and those potential necessities are interesting from an ID perspective. For scientists to suppose a non-intelligent origin of life must be the correct answer so they can collect a paycheck for it is not a scientific reason but a commercial reason. (And it’s fine if one wants to provide an incentive for scientists to finally do something beyond the typical theorizing.) But I don’t see how any scientist should care whether *other* scientists are marching down a dead-end, as long as they don’t have to march in step and other scientists are taking their own publications seriously. I’m all for them attempting to confirm the supposition with real experimental results, though not necessarily on the public dime. (Not while such resources are denied to anyone linked to ‘i.d.’ or ‘I.D.’ anyway.)

            Having read your thoughts on the matters, I can’t say that I understand how you reconcile your reasons for believing that the existence of the DNA code supports ‘i.d.’ with your reasons for thinking that spontaneous emergence of such codes is plausible.

            • Thomas,

              Great questions. As you say, symbiogenesis, the activities of the Swiss Army Knife etc are very COOL and very impressive.

              I don’t think any reasonable person can be apprised of the literature and disagree that incredible evolutionary feats are accomplished through these mechanisms. Those cells are smarter than we are.

              We have no idea what really drives this. Darwinists of various stripes have usually taken it for granted that this happens and chalked it up to natural selection, but in fact no human technology comes close to mimicking this. One blade of grass is 10,000 years ahead of any human technology. We do not understand the mechanisms that make it possible. We only know the surface level outlines and we use terms like “transposition” and “horizontal gene transfer” to describe what we do know.

              And we have no idea where life came from.

              Life could very well have been a miracle. And maybe evolutionary steps are miracles too. Theologically I’m fine with that.

              But I have some serious cautions about just saying “God did it that explains it.” I’ve described the problems with these all over this website. It’s abdication.

              I there is any implication to all of this it’s that the universe is divinely ordered to an even greater degree than most people can even appreciate. But I prefer to take my “divine order” wholesale rather than retail. I think it is much more impressive for God to initiate a universe that leads to a planet that builds a cell that builds an ecosystem that evolves a zebra than for God to scoop up dirt and make a zebra on the spot. There is far more about the majesty of the universe for us to discover with the first view than the second. And I don’t even think it conflicts with a series of “And God Said…” events because precisely what is meant by “And God Said” is still a mystery. It doesn’t mean zebras suddenly popped into existence or were beamed from the sky like Star Trek. Does not Genesis say “And God said let the ground produce creeping things….”?

              As for origin of life specifically, I can mount a God of Gaps argument as competently as anyone. I can back a snarling atheist into a corner as fast as anyone you’ve ever seen, and I’ve done so many times. I defended myself for 7 years on the Infidels discussion board and nobody punched a hole in my argument. They were mad as hornets. However my experience is that those sorts of arguments still don’t convince people anyway (“A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still”) and they also alienate scientists. For reasons I’ve described here many times.

              In contrast, my $10 million prize has opened doors for me at the very highest levels of academia. It is a very fair and reasonable challenge to reconsider the very foundations of science. If you read the work of people like Paul Davies they are saying that it will require nothing less than new laws of physics to understand biology. They are correct. There is so much more to discover.

              I think our understanding of the “swiss army knife” is in its early infancy. There is FAR more to discover and these discoveries are not just about philosophical and theological posturing. They are absolutely essential to solving problems like… oh, cancer and viruses. You know – those pesky trivial problems. Cancer is an evolution problem because cancer IS evolution running out of control, and the SARS-COV-2 problem (where it actually came from) is also an evolution problem. It’s an evolution problem whether it occurred naturally or was aided or engineered by humans. And we don’t fully understand the problem yet.

              One of my frustrations with *some* ID people is, they don’t really seem to care about the medical or practical implications. Sometimes they don’t even actually care about the science. They just want to score religious talking points against the other team.

              The mechanisms and nature of evolution are not philosophical toys. They are vital keys to medicine, health and the well being of all of us.

            • Thomas, as evidence of the relevance of Evolution to Cancer: see – online conference in October which I am helping to organize.

      • Joe Baublis says:

        Mr. Marshall sir, I concur with others that you may have misrepresented Meyer’s arguments against yours. Inter Alia, perhaps you should consider providing actual quotations to support your claims about Meyer and/or the Discovery Institute(TDI)? I checked TDI and there is a published article indentifying the actual bases of their arguments against yours. I merely paraphrase my inference, and subject to review/correction. 1. That you failed to identify the source of the intelligence you allege is contained in cells. Ie, where did the intelligence come from? Where did the information come from? 2. In that contemporary evolution is argued to occur in “populations” then you have also failed to explain how intelligent individuals within the population communicate with each other. Who or what taught them to follow that? 3. The Munchausen paradox: the cells need to exist before they can create their own intelligence.

        I see 2 problems with your arguement that ID is -essentially- “God of the gaps” fallacy. 1. You appear to have neglected to present necessarily true premises upon which to draw your conclusion. In other words, merely claiming that “oh it’s a God of the gaps error” does not mean it is, especially when you also appear to be misrepresenting the ID theory. Secondly, your own argument (as I understand it, and as explained by TDI) – that intelligence sufficient for evolution exists within each cell – may also be viewed as a “GOTG” fallacy – you merely put God’s intelligence into the cell.

        • Joe,

          In the program and everywhere else I have made it very clear that I believe in God. But I also said that the universe itself may be consciousness first, matter second. And that I regard the source of cellular intelligence as an open question. The way you worded your question assumes that I think it’s cell first, intelligent cell second. We do not know that. It may be intelligence first, cell second.

          And until we understand consciousness we may never solve origin of life.

          What is wrong with putting God’s intelligence into the cell?

          Please remember that if ANY evolutionary step is achieved by cellular cognition, but rejected because “only God can do that” then a GOTG fallacy has in fact hindered science.

  3. Jarvis says:

    Ok people two words LIGHT BE …so where do photons fit in ?… because without them nothing we perceive to be ( finitely ) would exist. From photons come neutrons protons and electrons… various combinations of these are what make up everything in the physical universe. Yet light in and of itself does not exist in the physical universe. It has no Mass. It occupies no volume in space. So we being physical beings perceive light which actually does not even exist in the physical universe. Yet we somehow perceive it to . Maybe only our perceptions exist maybe only our Consciousness exists. And consider this what if the speed of light has not always been what it currently is. What if it has changed somehow ? This would change all the knowledge we have of the time-space continuum and to shorten the narrative anything and everything we currently have knowledge of in regards to any and every type of science whether it be in fact or Theory It also changes all the knowledge we possess of gravity,…magnetic fields, …stars,…planets, …add to the list at infinitum. Also because everything that exists in the physical Universe exists because of light… and more accurately because of light slowed down …proving my point that light speed can be altered… really does not travel at a constant like scientists think …aka the Collision of photons into each other
    (= light slowed down ) creating neutrons protons and electrons which once again to remind you make up everything in the physical universe… then isn’t it logical to say that distance wether.. width or depth or height or length is a relative term to measure the physical universe and our spatial perceptions and therefore are only in our minds or Consciousness if you will ?
    Based on how far apart two points are from each other based on that perception we measure distance correct ? Then how is it that light has no measurable distance from itself being all encompassing of course it cannot be…yet we think we can measure the distance of it’s source ? So I say all that to say this….all we really know or ever will know is what we percieve to be truth in our mind and not in god’s reality.

  4. Tom Godfrey says:


    The point made by Phil Jones seems quite cogent to me. Can you rebut it? Your reply “to another guy” seems to miss his point entirely. I also especially like point b) in the comment by Daniel Arant. Thanks for admitting that you “fully understand that cellular intelligence doesn’t explain the origin of cellular intelligence” and that ID may be the correct ultimate explanation for cellular intelligence, even though your statement quoted by Phil means that “the majority of scientists” (at least those who subscribe to the no-miracle presupposition), are bound to reject any ID explanation of this particular origin, whether it is correct or not.

    When you stop and think about it, no one can elevate the no-miracle presupposition to the status of a conclusion based on physical evidence without begging the question. Those who insist on making it are actually expressing their faith that it must be true, whether it actually is true or not. Am I wrong about this? If you need one miracle to get the tree of life started, then you need a violation of the no-miracle presupposition, moving you over into an off-limits area, as far as atheist scientists are concerned. If you can violate it once, then what is wrong with believing Genesis as it is traditionally understood?

    Can cellular intelligence produce macro-evolution? This obviously depends on how one defines macro-evolution. You evidently consider “new species in real time” as a valid example of it. I suppose it is convenient to lower the bar that much, but frankly, I am not impressed. In my view, any evolution that can actually be observed is uncontroversial and certainly not what is commonly considered to be macro-evolution. I think you are talking about downhill or (at best) horizontal changes within the Genesis “kinds.” Dinosaur-to-bird would be more like what I have in mind. I doubt that you have any real-time demonstration of this sort of evolution to present, but if you can prove me wrong, I am interested.

  5. Joe Coddington says:

    Old Eath Creationism, also called progressive creation tries to explain contradictions between science and the Bible. They usually still believe in a literal interpretation of scripture even though they don’t think the earth is 6000 years old and they think the flood of Noah was a local flood. Intelligent design doesn’t discuss the Bible at all and makes to claim as to what the intelligence is. (If God, then they make no claim as to his nature and what he wants from us, but leave room for intelligence being a space alien) Theistic evolution at least acknowledges that we have a purpose, which is all that many Thiest require. But acknowledging the Bible and Gods nature is indeed a significant difference.

  6. Roger M Pearlman says:

    ID should mean just ID
    and let the science determine which is the better ID YeC or Deep-time.
    from my perspective the best ID science is w/in YeC
    reference RCCF – the recent complex creation framework for understanding science in max avail context.

  7. Tom Mikkelson says:

    I know it’s been awhile since I’ve really kept up with the creation/evoultion debate but what is “cellular intelligence” supposed to mean? Tried to Google with no luck. Thanks

  8. Hashem Barzan says:

    Hello Mr. Marshall, I have admired your work for about a couple years now as I discovered it by chance on YouTube along with the work Dr. Roberts Marks II. In turn, this bridged me to look at kolmogrov complexity, algorithmic information theory, Shannon theory, the works of Gregory Chaitin etc. in a different light. It actually made me a little hopeful & happy as for certain reasons I was spiraling into a form of dark, negative nihilism. Your lectures on information theory & evolution made me reevaluate those toxic notions that were building inside of my head. I can say I’m coming out of a dark despair thanks to you & those on the same page as you.

  9. Hashem Barzan says:

    My question that I had is if you have heard of the ‘manosphere’ & this ‘red pill’ ideology that has been floating around on the internet for some years now? In this frame of thought, if you’d like, are the notions that as far as a species & more significantly our intergender relations we’re perhaps the most broken & decrepit of the animal kingdom. Now, there are ranges to how they view the world & humans at large but many of them are full-blown “misogynists”. But, many of these men apparently have been truly hurt by the women in their lives. In any event, they draw many of their conclusions & views based on the present data in regards to divorce, infidelity, warped behavior, child abuse, & of course abortion, based on the researches of evolutionary psychology. By their methodology, they systematically make a case that the average human female is nothing more than an immoral/ amoral, greedy, lecherous, manipulative, conniving, thieving personification of evil. However, as insane as this sounds they make a somewhat good, believable case in what they state, specifically if one has been through an ugly breakup or divorce.

  10. Hashem Barzan says:

    Now if you don’t out of this so called “men’s movement” or “realization of the ugly reality” was born the MGTOW movement & the internet & more specifically YouTube is flooded with their material. Even John Sonmez aka the simple programmer who reviewed your book & whom interviewed you on his channel has spoken about this issue & reviewed one the “main texts” of this worldview called “the rational male”. In their universe, everything is pointless, vile, decrepit, & dark. The entire movement also is made up of aggressively atheistic or better yet, anti-theistic minded people as in their view “an all-knowing, omnipotent, omnipresent, loving creator would have never doomed us to such a grotesque existence & definitely wouldn’t have created the human female as such” I.e. females being evil & vile by nature, in other words.

  11. Hashem Barzan says:

    All of the information they present is based on the works of evolutionary psychologists like David Buss, Steven Pinker, Gad Saad, Donald Hoffman & other evo psych researchers. On top of that, there are many references to Richard Dawkins, especially his “selfish gene”, Sam Harris’ work on the “illusion of free will”, Daniel Dennett’s philosophy of existence, & other players in the pointless, nihilistic intellectual platform.

  12. Hashem Barzan says:

    They use the “the selfish gene” theory to state that females are biologically predetermined & programmed to be as such because modern day science has proved it or is proving it. Basically, even us as males are nothing more than drones at their service & every achievement of human civilization was nothing more than to serve them, pleasure them, protect them, love them…just so we could mate with them to pass on our genes while being unaware of what we’re getting ourselves into & believing they feel the same about us while they truly don’t & view us as nothing more than disposable objects. In their manifesto, everybody from their spouses, to their siblings, to their intermediate relatives, to their parents, to their children all the way to the average, random individual who they see on the street is nothing more than fair game & prey waiting to devoured. As I have said, it’s far to crazy to believe but any average joe has witnessed perhaps several incidents where the above described thing happens or has happened ( I sure have & first hand that is).

  13. Hashem Barzan says:

    Now aside from all of this online red pill misogyny business, my main question is where would evolution 2.0 fit in the scope where evolutionary psychology comes in?

  14. Hashem Barzan says:

    Hello Mr. Marshall, I would like to know where evolutionary psychology would fit in the scheme of evolution 2.0?

    • I am not well versed enough in evolutionary psychology to give you a good answer. A lot of evo psy is making up stories about how some trait must exist because it helped survival. But people like Jordan Peterson seem to have progressed considerably beyond that.

  15. Ken Koskinen says:

    Intelligent Design is not a good scientific theory. Stephen Meyers and other proponents of Intelligent Design claim their theory is the best explanation for the evolution of life, at least as they define it.

    The first problem with ID is, it’s an unfinished work that has not even been taken as far as it can go. Meyers et al. require numerous interventions over biological time from some unknown intelligence that tinkered with earthly biology over millions of years to develop the history of all the species that has ever existed. This creative activity over much time is what they call evolution.

    The IDers speak to the need for information and its intelligent manipulation, claiming it is the best explanation. They refuse to claim what or who the ID agent is and ironically suggest this is being scientifically clever; but they have really dropped the ball. ID is not a complete theory as it is vague while scientific theories must be precise.
    The second problem is ID is not even anything that is really new. It is mostly a modern and shallow rehash of the design/designer argument usually advanced for the existence of God. So what’s the big deal? Where are the Nobel Prizes? They are not handed out for unfinished theories and nor to those who haven’t done anything novel in science.

    The third problem is, IDers are given to much criticism of Neo-Darwinism but that has nothing to do with the validity of ID. Every theory has to stand on its own two feet. With all of ID’s criticism they aren’t really saying or explaining anything even if every wrong they claim in Neo-Darwinism is right. Today ID sits smug in its insistence but like any unfinished theory is shallow in its own explanatory power.

  16. Joshua Gidney says:

    While I appreciate much of your work, Perry, as Jonathan McLatchie and others pointed out in your recent discussion, I think there are some serious deficiencies in your portrayal of ID. Here’s a response:

    • The author claims I don’t understand ID. I would encourage you to read and note that I am using a classic God of Gaps argument for origin of information.

      All of my logic is correct but today I am agnostic about whether God created the first cell; there may be a natural process and if there is one I would like to find it. I have a $3 million prize for such a discovery at I used to be firmly in the ID camp but I’m not anymore.

      Yes, inference to best explanation is a positive argument but it’s still inductive and if you jump all the way to God (instead of looking for intermediate processes) then you miss the intermediate processes. I don’t think the Discovery Institute would produce a person like Lynn Margulis.

      We must be very clear that Stephen Meyer is personally skeptical of macroevolution and common descent and that is the version of ID that we were debating. Others may define ID more similarly to the way that I do. But many people in the Discovery Institute camp reject common descent and sometimes even macroevolution.

      The author says:

      The Discovery Institute define ID this way:

      The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.(8)

      I agree with that definition of intelligent design, lower case i and d. But generally the Discovery Institute takes it quite a bit further than that, being skeptical that cellular mechanisms can explain evolution. That’s where we part company.

      The author accuses me of being unfamiliar with what ID really says. I am extremely familiar with what ID says and I’m friends with Paul Nelson, Casey Luskin and many other ID advocates. But I was debating Stephen Meyer’s version which I believe is OEC.

      You can’t have your cake and eat it too. If Discovery Institute is amenable to YEC, OEC, God, unspecified sources of intelligence, or possibly even aliens, then you’re defining it so broadly as to make criticism unavoidable. I will continue to assume that Stephen Meyer represented ID in a way that is acceptable to the Discovery Institute.

      The fact is that Meyer is skeptical that the Third Way approach is sufficient and I posit that the approach will eventually succeed.

      I realize some versions of ID are compatible with Third Way but I would say 2/3rds of ID people would not embrace Third Way.

      I would suggest that the author read Evolution 2.0 and I would be happy to have him write a guest blog post here.

  17. Soochan Park says:

    I saw your debate about old earth creationism vs young creationism, and you said it is impossible for light from the star from 15,000,000 light years to reach the planet Earth. I’m entirely not sure about young earth creationism, however, here is my best go at YEC. Before I start, this is unprovable by science. When God first created the plants, did he had to wait for it to grow? Did he start from seedlings? No, just by his command, the plants were already made grown. When God created the animals, it was fully grown. When God created the planet, he did not have to wait for the spec of dirt to grow into a size of a planet. This applies to the stars as well. In the viewpoint of YEC, when God created star, the lights were not coming toward the earth, it was already there! So if everything were to be made “grown”, then everything starts to make sense for YECs as well.

    • If you’re willing to propose that 99.9% of earth’s very very detailed geological history is fabricated and never actually happened, then that is an option.

      • Soochan Park says:

        Well, I looked at the both sides and stayed at the both sides before. There are evidences that denies both. If I looked at young earth creationism, the fossils denies the evidence. He could have already created the fossil fuel and different minerals, but not fossils itself. And if I look at old earth creationism then the blanks between the books of the Bible becomes too large. This is a very difficult problem even with evidence, because it’s God’s work, and there are something we cannot simply understand. We can ask this when we meet Jesus.

      • Tom Godfrey says:


        To put your comment in perspective, let’s think about 100% “of earth’s very very detailed geological history.” Intuitively, this 100% ought to include everything that has ever taken place in the true geological history of the earth. How much of this do we know? I think only Someone who is omniscient could give an accurate answer to this question, and by definition, it would be silly to claim that any percentage greater than zero “never actually happened.” Are we in a position to make any claims with confidence about the attributes of any percentage of it between 0% and 100%?

        I think it follows that the 100% you had in mind must refer to a different history. Correct me if I guessed wrong, but it might be all of the “very very detailed geological history” thought to be known to historians based on a study of physical evidence under the no-miracle presupposition. If so, we want to know how much of it “actually happened” and how much of it is only supposed to have happened in theory but did not happen in reality. Who can give us an accurate answer to *this* question? Can you?

        It may help to imagine modern experts examining the leftover food in twelve baskets after the miracle reported in John 6:1-13. They could surely imagine stories about fishing trips, countless cycles of sowing and harvesting barley, and unobserved processes of preparing grain and other ingredients to be served as food for humans in the form of bread, but what percentage of this “history” actually happened? What percentage, by weight, of the leftover food actually came into existence just as the experts would have theorized under their no-miracle presupposition?

        People who believe the Bible provides accurate accounts of history do not propose that this history is some exact percentage of extra-biblical history. Who cares what the percentage is? We simply believe that God did what the Bible says he did. Why complicate this? Belief must be an option. Mysteries and legitimate questions about proper interpretation remain, of course, but this is the case regardless of one’s position on the historicity of Genesis.

        • We don’t have to complicate anything if we just read what’s on the page and make whatever assumptions we want to make, whatever assumptions we bring to the text. (And you are bringing assumptions to the text just as I am.)

          But if we want to integrate it with all of the other evidence and make sense of it, then being simplistic will no longer work. It’s a big job. Because the Bible cannot be read in a vacuum. And it’s messy job.

          I’m up for it. Are you?

          • Tom Godfrey says:


            Thanks for responding. I am in total agreement with the first paragraph of your reply. I translate the “messy job” mentioned in your second paragraph as complication. We evidently agree that it is entirely unnecessary. We don’t *have* to take on that job of integrating Genesis with “all of the other evidence” as interpreted under the assumption that no miracle or supernatural agent was involved.

            With *this* assumption firmly in place, one can reject Genesis or any other account of creation that credits the work to God or gods without even peeking at physical evidence. The presupposition is all it takes to discredit such an account as a mere myth or legend. On the other hand, if miracles *were* involved in the true history of life on earth, then we should expect physical evidence to be misleading, as I explained. It is the nature of any miracle that leaves behind physical evidence that might be tempting to interpret under the invalid no-miracle presupposition.

            My working hypothesis is that the creation, fall into sin and death, and confusion of languages at Babel were all miraculous acts of God, and they all left behind plenty of physical evidence that can be misleading. It really would be a messy job to try to figure out what part of origins evidence, if any, ought to be somehow integrated with Genesis. If you like the idea, go for it. Count me out, but I am interested in what you believe you discover with this approach.

            • I am not rejecting Genesis. Only the simplistic approach that the YECs insist on. I’m in agreement with what Mike is saying here.

              • Tom Godfrey says:


                Excerpting from your last two replies, would it be fair to say that you don’t think we have to complicate anything, but you reject a certain creationist approach that is simplistic? Can you be more specific? What is the simplistic approach that you reject, and why is your approach more satisfactory from your perspective?

                As far as I can tell, Mike Bay has not yet responded to my latest reply to his questions about the Grand Canyon, but I assume you have seen whatever is up as moderator. If you were Mike, how would you respond to my Grand Canyon comments? If I have sidestepped any real issue that is on the table for discussion here, please be specific and allow me to fix that.

                • I have made the issues of YEC being simplistic quite clear already. Multiple times. Speed of light and millions of years of exquisitely detailed history that YEC insists never happened. I don’t see the need to repeat this ad nauseum.

                  • Tom Godfrey says:


                    Thanks for responding, but we must be talking past each other. You wrote, “I am not rejecting Genesis. Only the simplistic approach that the YECs insist on.” I naturally thought you meant that you were rejecting some *approach*, presumably an approach to understanding our origins. Creationists who reject the idea that the earth is billions of years old do not necessarily all share the same approach, whether you consider it simplistic or not. Compare, for example, the ICR approach and the Aardsma approach. I wanted you to specify the approach you had in mind. “Speed of light and millions of years of exquisitely detailed history that YEC insists never happened” do not describe an approach. Those are issues that could be approached in a simplistic manner, of course, but I am still waiting for a description of an *approach* that you consider to be too simplistic. Could it be the believe-the-Bible approach? I would also like a description of some alternative approach, whether simple or complex, that you prefer.

                    It may facilitate future discussion if we clarify also what we mean by history. We surely ought to be talking about a history that is written and can be read and judged for credibility. Genesis certainly fits this description, but what about “millions of years of exquisitely detailed history that YEC insists never happened”? Where is this history written? I think you are actually talking about observations of physical evidence that must be analyzed and interpreted, perhaps by scientists posing as historians, whose “history” is always subject to revision as more information becomes available. This looks like a completely different kind of history at best. It might be more accurately called tentative speculation about what happed in the past without the benefit of any eyewitness testimony, only clues in the form of physical evidence.

                    What do we do if this “history” currently appears to be inconsistent with the history reported in Genesis? I think a lot depends on how committed we are to the no-miracle presupposition that is the stock in trade of secular historians. Those of us who reject the presupposition and believe that Genesis accurately reports miracles can conclude that the physical evidence is misleading, as it must be in the aftermath of any miracle, so yes, we would say the “history” guessed from physical clues never happened, regardless of how “exquisitely detailed” it may be. People firmly committed to the no-miracle presupposition can either reject Genesis as a myth or try to twist or reinterpret it as necessary to make it appear to be consistent with whatever they currently believe actually took place. The myth approach is clearly much simpler, but really, is there any other difference?

                    • The history is written in physical evidence. If you do not believe it, and if you believe the physical evidence is misleading, then nothing I say is going to change your mind. But I say the physical evidence is telling the truth.

                      You say: “Yes, we would say the “history” guessed from physical clues never happened, regardless of how “exquisitely detailed” it may be.”

                      There is nothing anyone could say to convince me that this is true. I say it makes God a liar. It makes science the study of a grand illusion instead of a window into the mind of God. This is a huge mistake.

                      We are therefore at an impasse and further discussion is a waste of both your time and my time. If you have questions about what I mean or what my views are then please re-review the relevant sections.

                    • Tom Godfrey says:


                      If the history of our origins is “written in physical evidence” as claimed, then we ought to agree that no one can read it and judge its credibility until someone has analyzed and interpreted it and then told a “history” based on this work in some language that people can understand. Take the evidence that involves measurements of the speed of light and distances to celestial objects. If there is any history “written” in this evidence, then no one can read it until it has been analyzed, interpreted, and published in a form that people can understand. Abraham certainly did not look up at the night sky and “read” a history of what he saw. No one does this today either. Writing a readable history of our origins is messy, complicated work that involves the no-miracle presupposition and several other assumptions.

                      Your second paragraph distorts my position. Let’s get rid of the straw man for the benefit of others who may be following our discussion. You quoted me out of context, cutting off the first part of the sentence and making the rest of it look like it was a complete sentence. What you quoted applies only to cases where it is claimed and believed that a miracle was involved. It would not apply to cases where the no-miracle presupposition makes sense, say in a study of the laws of nature, and where science is certainly not concerned with “a grand illusion instead of a window into the mind of God.” This distinction is critical. You can ignore it and lump the two together to make my actual position appear to be weak to people who do not realize what you have done, but this is only a debate tactic. It may often be effective, but let’s discuss this honestly, please.

                      I also protest that my position certainly does not make God a liar. Consider the “history” written in the twelve baskets of leftover food mentioned in John 6:13. Suppose this evidence were analyzed and interpreted by a competent expert, who published a “history” of the food. Do you suppose it would be the truth? It would almost certainly *not* be the truth if John’s account of the miracle is accurate, right? Can we agree on this much? Is God a liar because the evidence led some expert to draw false conclusions? Was the gospel writer a liar? I say no to both questions. What do you say?

                      Now let’s change the scenario and suppose those baskets again had food in them, but no miracle was claimed or believed to be involved. I think we can agree that the “history” ought to be fairly close to the truth in this case, depending on the skill of the expert and available means for analyzing the evidence. I added this variation to underscore the importance of the distinction that you ignored. It makes a huge difference, and it is certainly not a huge mistake to make it. I think it would be a huge mistake to think that one can study the aftermath of a miracle and expect the physical evidence, analyzed and interpreted under the no-miracle presupposition, to enable an expert to discover what actually took place in real history. Taking this approach anyway is certainly possible and allowable in a free country, but the resulting “history” would be nothing more than what might be called virtual history or an unbeliever’s description of “a grand illusion” in this kind of miraculous case only. If you disagree, I am eager to find out why.

                    • I accept miracles. Especially when there are eyewitnesses. I’ve seen a number of them myself as I document at

                      The gospel writers make it very clear that these events were miracles. I accept those stories at face value.

                      But where does the Genesis 1 account assert that the geology of the earth or the progression of life is a miracle and not a natural progression?

                    • Tom Godfrey says:


                      Okay, maybe we are making progress. I already knew that you believe in modern-day miracles as well as miracles reported in the Bible, but judging from your lack of comment on it, my thought experiment concerning the twelve baskets of food nevertheless must not have resonated with you.

                      Let’s add a scenario where a deaf man is miraculously healed so that he can hear again, and there are many witnesses. An atheist expert is called in to investigate. He does not trust the healed man or any of the witnesses to tell the truth, so he ignores their testimony and relies entirely on the history as “written” in the physical evidence, which in this case turns out to be a professional audiological evaluation. After studying the results under the no-miracle presupposition, the expert writes up a history that can be read and judged for credibility, and it says that the man was never deaf. If there really was no miracle, and all of those witnesses were hypnotized, innocently deceived, or perhaps even deliberate hoaxers, then the expert’s history may well be true. If the man actually was miraculously healed of his deafness, then the expert’s conclusion is false. In this latter case, who, if anyone, lied? Should an apparent lifetime of not being deaf when in fact the man was deaf for years count as deception on the part of whoever worked the miracle?

                      If we can agree on reasonable answers to these questions, I think we are well on our way to agreeing that virtual history is a valid concept whenever a miracle leaves behind physical evidence, even if you may prefer a different label for the concept. We should also agree that virtual history does not make God a liar. Remember Rom. 3:4.

                      To answer your question for me, Genesis 1 never mentions the word miracle. If it says anything at all about a “progression of life,” it would be a progression with very few stages (plant life on Day Three, fish and birds on Day Five, and finally terrestrial animals, including mankind, on Day Six). Would any biologist seriously label these stages “a natural progression”? Perish the thought. Verses 9-10 are the only ones that clearly count as a claim regarding “the geology of the earth.” Obviously, the account provides few details and leaves many unanswered questions. We are free to speculate, of course, but I recommend rejecting any speculation that contradicts what we are told.

                      So why do believers count the work of creation reported in Genesis 1 as miraculous? It is because of the summaries given in Genesis 1:1 and 1:31-2:2. Note that the one who did the work in only six days is God. Well, is it possible that God could have done all of that work through evolution, but he was only kidding about the day thing? No. The most obvious problem with this idea is that the work was supposed to be finished. Evolution is supposed to be ongoing until the process finally reaches a heat death. Besides this, how could one possibly distinguish that kind of creation by God from one where Time/Chance/Evolution gets the credit for all of this work instead? I join believers who for millennia have given God full credit for this work as claimed in Genesis 1. It had to involve miracles with plenty of virtual history, in my opinion. You are free to disagree, of course.

                    • 24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

                      But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

                      26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

                      I think there’s a very important epistemology clue here.

                      Let’s suppose you choose to classify Jesus’ resurrection as virtual history.

                      But is this virtual history deceptive?

                      What does the history communicate?

                    • Tom Godfrey says:


                      Okay, the healing of a deaf man also failed to resonate. Let’s try again with a virtual history analysis of the report in John 20:24-29. This scenario is a bit more complicated, because it covers another class of people not yet considered in our discussion, but to start, let’s consider again a type of people not mentioned in the quoted passage.

                      Suppose Jesus had presented himself to an atheist or anyone committed to the no-miracle presupposition, someone ready and qualified to investigate claims that Jesus had miraculously risen after death by crucifixion just ten days earlier. What history would be “written” in the evidence? Of course, the investigator, like Thomas, would not trust either Jesus or any other witness to tell the truth. The only source of information considered reliable would be an examination of the wounds.

                      We can only imagine what the “history” would say as written so that it could be read and judged for credibility. I think it would say that the subject, perhaps an imposter, had received serious injuries a least a few months earlier. After they had been carefully treated, the wounds had healed naturally, leaving ugly scars, of course, but no injury was serious enough to cause death or to prevent the subject from walking and talking normally at the time of the examination. Of course, if the truth was actually what the gospel writers reported, then this “history” would be virtual history, purely based on misleading evidence left behind after a miracle had been performed. Would this history be deceptive? Certainly. It would communicate a falsehood for sure. Does this make God a liar? Certainly not.

                      However, the investigator just considered was not like Thomas, who had no firm commitment to the no-miracle presupposition. Why should he? Thomas had personally witnessed many miracles. Nevertheless, the very idea that Jesus himself could rise from the dead after such a terrible crucifixion was initially just too much for him to swallow, so he demanded evidence. No doubt realizing that evidence would change his mind, Jesus offered what Thomas claimed he needed, and it did change his mind.

                      You wanted me “to classify Jesus’ resurrection as virtual history,” but no virtual history involves a miracle, and the resurrection was a miracle, so your request makes no sense. Thomas knew the truth about the real history that included a crucifixion, which actually resulted in the death of Jesus. He had no reason to assume that he was meeting a Jesus imposter, and he did not invent a virtual history under the no-miracle presupposition to account for the physical evidence presented to him. I guess he realized that the deadly wound in the side of Jesus could not heal naturally in only ten days.

                      There is a third way to deal with this kind of scenario, and it is covered in John 20:29b (“… blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”). No one here witnessed creation, but at least some of us are blessed because we have believed Genesis. Simple. Others may be more like the atheist investigator and insist that the physical evidence, as analyzed and interpreted under the no-miracle presupposition, must reveal the true history of our origins. A Christian investigator may actually take the same approach, but to avoid the embarrassment of rejecting Genesis as myth or nonsense, this kind of person may reinterpret it to fit whatever speculation the physical evidence seems to warrant. No problem.

                      Are there people (more like Thomas) who are interested in origins and physical evidence that might be of interest? Take, for example, the evidence of soft tissue found in dinosaur bones that may suggest that the generally-accepted dating of those bones is seriously in error ( Believers are encouraged by this news, but skeptics desperately search for some rescuing device, maybe some poorly understood means for preserving those soft tissues for millions of years. Far be it from them to reject their no-miracle presupposition and believe the Bible. I dare say that few modern people react to this kind of evidence by changing their mind the way Thomas did, but to be honest, I am no pollster.

                    • Thomas himself probably witnessed Jesus’ death. There was no doubt whatsoever that Jesus had been crucified.

                      What you’re missing is the fact that even with a resurrection miracle, there was still evidence of the actual history. The miracle wasn’t platonically “perfect.” Risen from the dead, but still with scars. Marks of actual history.

                      This suggests to me that historical evidence does matter to God, and that Jesus’ body told the truth of what had been done to it.

                      Which makes it all the more difficult for me to believe that 99.999999% of earth’s APPARENT history is really “virtual history.” After all you’re admitting that the earth does, in fact, appear to be very old in many many respects, but we’re supposed to believe that God made it 6000 years ago… with all those fossils and geological history being essentially fabricated.

                      This really doesn’t square with a risen Jesus who still has nail scars.

                      Jesus has scars that really did happen, yet the 99.99999% of the earth’s scars didn’t.


                    • Tom Godfrey says:


                      How do you figure that I “[missed] the fact that even with a resurrection miracle, there was still evidence of the actual history”? Look back at my previous comment, and you will find “ugly scars” included in my description of the virtual history imagined by the unbelieving investigator. Even with this evidence, an interpretation under the no-miracle presupposition certainly would not include a resurrection. That’s a miracle and therefore inadmissible in a scientific explanation of those scars. Yes, Thomas knew that Jesus died, but that counted as testimony that the investigator would not accept as reliable. He decided to rely entirely on the physical evidence right there before him, and it naturally led him to the conclusion that the subject had recovered naturally from serious but nonfatal wounds after a matter of weeks if not months or years. No miracle. No resurrection.

                      Your point about historical evidence mattering to God is well taken, and I appreciate your objection, because it reveals a misunderstanding that needs to be clarified. Whenever a miracle is performed that leaves behind physical evidence (I am not talking about walking on the water, for instance), then this evidence will necessarily be misleading if analyzed and interpreted under the no-miracle presupposition. This should be no surprise. The other side of the coin is that such a miracle does leave behind physical evidence, all right, and if the miracle is correctly taken into account, it can make sense in a true history.

                      This is what happened in the case of Thomas. He knew that Jesus died. Others had seen evidence that Jesus was alive again, and they were not meeting with an imposter. He wanted to see this evidence for himself. He had no commitment to the no-miracle presupposition, so he ended up believing what really took place instead of a virtual history like the one imagined by the investigator in my thought experiment. Recall the earlier thought experiment about the man healed of his deafness. That miracle left behind physical evidence too, and anyone who rejected the no-miracle presupposition could incorporate the evidence into a true account of what happened. Forget the virtual history. The same goes for the twelve baskets of leftover food, more physical evidence that belongs in the real history that believers accept as true. Creation also undoubtedly left behind plenty of physical evidence, though it was modified in mostly unspecified ways when Adam and Eve sinned. Get rid of the no-miracle presupposition, believe the testimony in Genesis, and you can have a true account of our origins. Or hold onto that presupposition and expect to be misled, if Genesis accurately reports creation miracles. It really is just this simple.

                      You concluded that “99.99999% of the earth’s scars” didn’t happen. I already explained why it is a mistake to claim a percentage like that. Let’s not argue in circles. If you disagreed with my earlier comment on it, please explain why. I am listening.

                    • Tom Godfrey says:


                      You must be managing so many conversations here that it would be hard to keep track of them all. I was referring to my July 11, 2017, 8:11 am, comment on this thread, but maybe I should try again to explain briefly why I think it is a mistake to say “99.99999% of the earth’s scars” didn’t happen.

                      When you wrote about “earth’s APPARENT history,” I think you have had in mind all of the “scars” or “very very detailed geological history” thought to be known to historians based on a study of physical evidence under the no-miracle presupposition. If so, does the percentage really matter? Suppose some scientists begin to think that mankind (the anatomically modern human species) has been around for 76 trillion years, not just about 200,000 years. Maybe I should say scientologists instead of scientists (, but seriously, suppose some new evidence came to light, and this idea began to take over. Would it be okay in your opinion for the avant-garde scientists to complain that mainstream scientists teach that 99.9999997% of the apparent history of mankind didn’t happen? It was all just imaginary history? Really? Wouldn’t you want to know more about the allegedly missing nearly 76 trillion years of history before you got excited about the complaint?

                      You may protest that we know plenty about the alleged 194,500 years of the earliest history of man, but how does that history compare to the known history of man since about 3500 B.C.? How preposterous is it to suppose that those poorly documented years of history before 3500 B.C. actually took place in a much shorter period of time, regardless of whether they were the product of some miraculous activity? Maybe it is not so much a question of what happened in real vs. virtual history. Maybe we are only confused because of errors in dating or chronology resulting from invalid assumptions. Who really knows? I hope this helps you understand why your dubious claim about a percentage of missing history looks like a mistake to me.

                    • You are only able to say “who really knows” because you are unfamiliar with the exact details of the science. Things like radioactive decay and the speed of light and other means of dating.

                      Lots of people know.

                      It is preposterous in the extreme to suppose that those years took place in a much shorter period of time. Speed of light, Tom. You only need to know that one thing and you know the earth is old. Period. Still, all of the other scientific disciplines and all of their other methods also converge on this point.

                      For me, at some point I acquired enough knowledge to realize that the traditional (peculiarly AMERICAN 19th & 20th century) yec account cannot possibly be correct. Explaining this as virtual history makes God a giant cosmic liar.

                      Then you blur the issue by saying “who really knows” because you’re not interested in researching the details of the life work of tens of thousands of scientists – people who know things that you don’t know. And that you refuse to know. You won’t even read my book.

                      I do not see this continuing to be a productive thread. Believe whatever you choose to believe.

                      I’ll tell you what Tom – you read my book – or any other book that explores these issues in great detail – like for example this one

                      and I’ll engage with you.

                      But until you’re willing to read a book and engage with the evidence (which so far you have not been willing), we’re done with this argument.

                    • Tom Godfrey says:


                      I would like to read your book, but it may not be easy unless I break down and buy a copy of it. The local Virginia Tech libraries evidently do not have it now. However, the popularity of your work is evidently rising, so this could change. In the meantime, our discussion here has been well focused on questions that should not need an entire book for you to answer.

                      Participation in this discussion is entirely voluntary, and it can end whenever any participant decides to drop out or when you, as moderator, decide to block participation. If you feel stymied and want this exchange of views to stop, you can make that happen at any time. I don’t feel guilty of any misbehavior. I have participated in good faith and honesty. Hopefully, others can recognize this based on what you have already allowed to appear.

                      Recall that back on July 8, Soochan Park said, “… if everything were to be made ‘grown’, then everything starts to make sense for YECs as well.” You replied later the same day, “If you’re willing to propose that 99.9% of earth’s very very detailed geological history is fabricated and never actually happened, then that is an option.” Three days later, I challenged you to consider a thought experiment related to John 6:1-13 and twelve baskets of leftover food, since it seemed relevant to your earlier exchange of comments. I asked, “What percentage of this ‘history’ actually happened?” I also asked, “Why complicate this?” You answered the short question but not the longer one, and we digressed until you said (on July 20), “I accept miracles” and mentioned one in particular. I adapted my leftover food thought experiment so that it would be based on your story of a deaf man who was miraculously healed. I asked, “Should an apparent lifetime of not being deaf when in fact the man was deaf for years count as deception on the part of whoever worked the miracle?”

                      This question went unanswered as well, but you evidently preferred to have my thought experiment based instead on the miracle of the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord. I complied. You finally addressed the idea this third way but evidently without having read my comment carefully, because you said, “Jesus’ body told the truth of what had been done to it.” I had to point out again that the physical evidence of scars, analyzed and interpreted under the no-miracle presupposition, would lead an investigator to conclude that the subject had suffered serious but nonfatal wounds that has healed naturally, probably over a period of weeks if not longer. No miracle. No resurrection. You could have said, “Good point. I see what you mean.” Or you could have followed up with a good reason to disagree. Instead, you finished with “But until you’re willing to read a book and engage with the evidence (which so far you have not been willing), we’re done with this argument.” Okay, it is your call, of course, but aren’t you concerned that others will see your reply as a cop-out?

                      Your comment also included yet another reference to a separate topic that I remember addressing long ago. You wrote, “Speed of light, Tom. You only need to know that one thing and you know the earth is old. Period.” Maybe you just forgot that we agreed that the edge of the observable universe is supposed to be much too far away for light to move from there to earth in the alleged age of the universe. We also agreed that this is not a problem once we take into account a natural expansion of space. No miracle is required. I asked whether we have any good reason to rule out the possibility that God miraculously expanded space or “stretched out the heavens” (Is. 44:25; 45:12) during the week of creation. Did you ever answer this? If the right answer is that we have no good reason to rule it out, except perhaps because of a firm commitment to the no-miracle presupposition, then I think your claim about the speed of light falls apart.

                      You accused me of not being willing to engage with the evidence, but isn’t this a bit hypocritical? Considering your comment, “It is preposterous *in the extreme* to suppose that those years took place in a much shorter period of time.” You said this after having ignored the dinosaur soft tissue evidence to which I called your attention. Would you recommend this approach to scientists eager to uphold faith in “deep time”? It has the advantage of being easy, but it is probably too easy if the goal is to engage with the evidence in a cogent and persuasive manner. I think that anyone who goes with your approach ought to feel embarrassed, but who am I to say?

                      You may well be convinced that lots of people know “history” gleaned from what is “written in physical evidence” as analyzed and interpreted under the no-miracle presupposition, but I say they only *think* they know that it is true. If a scientist investigates the laws of natures and gets something wrong, it will be obvious to anyone who tries to apply the results, perhaps in technology or a prediction about a natural phenomenon. If the scientist puts on his historian hat and gets something wrong, maybe no one will ever catch the mistake. If his claim is inconsistent with evidence found later, it can either be ignored or written off as an unsolved mystery, and life goes on without a problem. No device has to be redesigned.

                    • You will have to read one of these such books before I will engage with you further on this.

                      Read the grand canyon book, it has far more about the age of the earth than mine does.

                      Request it through inter-library loan. Or ask the library to buy it, they ought to have it in their collection anyway.

  18. Mike Bay says:

    S Park on YEC. Everything created grown? I call that The Poof Theory. God said let their be X and ‘poof’ there it was. I would propose that the Genesis record is not saying that. Truth is truth. The historical record and the Biblical record do intersect. I’d be paying attention to that… There is an overwhelming amount of evidence for old-earth. Get familiar with COBE. Rock sold science. The universe is old. Very old. This is beyond dispute… And human kind is blood-linked to the lower primates. Beyond dispute. The genome studies are demonstrating this conclusively. There was no ideal plan for proofing Adam. Adam carries many of the dead end genes that are also carried by lower primates. This is beyond dispute. Get familiar with the Genome Project… The real question is how did the human genome originate. Was it a series of genetic accidents? Or was the processed shaped by the Creator’s hand. I’m all in for the latter and I think in time it will be the predominant view….

  19. Mike Bay says:

    Soochan is expressing The Poof Theory. God said it and ‘poof’ it was. But that is not the only way to look at Genesis. Look at where the historical record overlaps the Genesis record. Truth is truth. Whatever happened happened one way. We may be able to figure it out… I built my own house. I saw it in my mind and it came to be. I envisioned it and it was accomplished. God foresaw the creation and it came to pass. My house did not ‘poof’ just happen. There’s nothing to say that the creation ‘poof’ just happened. In fact we know that the Genesis account tells us there was a process. The days. First this and then that. God could have said Let there be a complete creation and poof it was all finished. That’s not the record. It was step wise. Who is to say that the creation of man was not stepwise. God built the nation of Israel. Not poof but over thousands of years. A process. God works in our space-time in processes. Like a builder. Like an artist… Besides the earth is not young. It is billions of years old. Google COBE. The Creatir God took his sweet time. It was his time. He could take as long as he liked. And the record tells us that God dwells in all of our times. All ages are present tense for God. Which by the way is a critical concept in understanding God’s process of creative activity…

    • Soochan Park says:

      If the creation were not made grown, then how did Adam eat the fruit of knowledge from the tree? It will surely take a long time for that tree to grow. In the way I do believe in poof theory, and God is capable of doing that. And also, we cannot know when the history of ancient were written. Sadly, during that time, no one cared about history.

      • Mike Bay says:

        God is capable of anything, But not all possibilities are historical. Just because God could create by poofing does not mean that’s how God did it… God created space-time. God entered space-time in the person of Christ. Who is to say God did not enter space-time to create? True poof creation would be this. God spoke and immediately, suddenly all of creation popped into existence, fully formed and including all life forms at a variety of apparent ages… That is not the Genesis record! It does not say that. Remember we’ve got 6 days. Maybe 6 eons. 6 something is NOT poof. 1 is poof. 6 is a process… Is not God the master of process? Could his processes be almost infinite. Could God create with an infinite number of steps? Why not? If 6, why not 6 billion?

        • Tom Godfrey says:

          I agree with Mike Bay on most of his points. As for his questions, all except for the final series appear to be rhetorical and have obvious answers. Yes, God must be “the master of process” because he is the Master period. From my perspective, the answers to the rest of his questions at the end of his comment are irrelevant. Regardless of how “almost infinite” his processes may be and the number of steps God used to finish his work of creation during those six days, the bottom line is that Genesis claims that the work *was finished*, and it was declared to be very good by the seventh day. Who cares whether it was a “poof creation” with many poofs all finished in six days or one that involved six billion steps but still finished in six days? Genesis gives us a terse history that must omit many details. It is not even like Wikipedia with regard to details. We are free to speculate about details not covered, of course, but I recommend believing the information provided. The work of creation took just six days like the days in an ordinary work week (Ex. 20:11), and it *was finished*, so the creation reported in Genesis 1 and 2 was not an on-going evolutionary work in progress expected to continue far into the future (2Peter 3:4).

          • Mike Bay says:

            But your approach but not jive with the historical record… For example, have you ever visited the Grand Canyon? The amazing thing is the Grand Canyon carves out 5000 vertical feet of sedimentary layers. There are thousands of layers. Each layer was laid down at a separate time. Are you of the opinion that all of these layers were deposited in the Great Flood in less than a year? If you believe that God created everything in 6 literal days within the last 10,000 years, then you have an astronomical task reconciling the layers of the Grand Canyon. One flood could carve out the canyon. That’s not the point. The issue is how in the world did those thousands of layers get there??? Saying that God created the layers to give the appearance of an old earth is really dodging the issue. And that of course would be deceptive on God’s part. What is your statement on the layers in the Grand Canyon and how do you fit that into the young earth/grand floor paradigm???

            • I second what Mike said. Tom, you are trying to sidestep the real issues and you can do that if you choose. But I’ve never heard a coherent response to such questions from YEC’s.

            • Tom Godfrey says:

              Mike Bay,

              Yes, I have visited the Grand Canyon, both rims, and I am glad you brought this up.

              First, I should explain that my favorite Flood model is one proposed by Gerald Aardsma.
              I understand that many creationists like the scenario you described, but the Aardsma Flood theory does not fit that mold at all. It calls for a global event that piled up mountain-covering water mainly in the Northern Hemisphere, draining oceans in the opposite hemisphere, in some cases down to their bottoms, leaving them dry until the piled-up water returned later. In this model, the Flood did not necessarily leave thick sediments everywhere, and certainly not up to 6,093 feet of sediments exposed at the Grand Canyon. One other major difference I should mention is that Aardsma gives a much more precise date for the Flood than you will find in other Flood models, and he has written a book that covers plenty of physical evidence to back up his date for this event in real history.

              But back to the Grand Canyon in particular. I assume you have a calculator and can try a quick exercise to see whether secular experts have those layers all figured out. Take the total thickness of the sediments there and divide by the number of years it was supposed to have taken them to be deposited. The quotient should be the average thickness deposited annually. When I did this, the result was a rather filmy annual deposit. Of course there are supposed to be gaps, because millions of years of deposits were, in theory, swept away. I have to say “in theory” because you claimed, “Each layer was laid down at a separate time.” How do you know this? It may seem reasonable, and the experts may all agree, but do you have access to an eye-witness account? To be honest, what the experts claim to know is really nothing more than speculation based on a study of physical evidence interpreted under the no-miracle presupposition.

              But I digress. To eliminate the problem of missing layers, repeat your calculation with just the total thickness and time for deposit of a single unit, say the Redwall Limestone.
              When I did this, I got a thicker but still filmy average annual deposit. Let me know if you find an exception anywhere in the Grand Canyon for any unit that was supposed to take millions of years to be deposited.

              Why are filmy deposits a problem for evolutionists? It is because those sediments contain fossils that need to be buried rapidly in thick sediments, and if you have thick sediments interspersed with practically no sediments for the thousands of years, necessary to maintain the filmy annual average, then you should find unconformities and evidence of erosion. If you came to a different conclusion, please explain.

              So did God create the Grand Canyon layers “to give the appearance of an old earth”? If he did, when would people have first noticed this and been fooled? Considering the length of human history, it could have been relatively recently, maybe even less than 200 years ago, right? If you were God, and you wanted to fool people into thinking that the earth is over four billions years old, even though it is actually only about 7,200 years old, wouldn’t you have lied about this right there in Genesis? Why in the world would you let people believe the truth for thousands of years before finally trying to deceive them only in modern times? It makes no sense to me. Maybe you can explain it.

              By the way, I am not claiming that God created those layers instantaneously, fossils and all. The Bible does not tell us when or how the Grand Canyon or those layers were formed, and it is easy to guess what the reason for this might be. We are free to speculate about any unsolved mystery like this. I just recommend avoiding any serious theory that contradicts what we know from reading and believing the Bible. Works of pure fiction are another story.

  20. Soochan Park says:

    oh and apparently magnetic field denies old earth creationism. Have to look inside that one.

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