At Answers in Genesis, Ken Ham et. al, derives great satisfaction from limiting God. Today they responded to Dr. Richard Hoover's research and quickly prepared a "layman" article for their readers. They give their readers (whom they assume to be rather uneducated) a cautionary tale; they haven't yet "prepared to offer a statement in the future after the research has been examined by the scientific community." They caution that "there are some important points to remember as you think about this issue." Let us go through these points one by one and examine the types of arguments these five points are based on.
First, notice that the desire to prove an evolutionary origin of man is a driving force in the Journal of Cosmology (i.e., “the implications are that life is everywhere, and that life on Earth may have come from other planets”). This is flatly contradicted by the Bible’s historically accurate account which reveals that God directly created life on earth (Genesis 1–2; Colossians 1:15–18)."
Note they use the term "historically accurate." This rests on the argument that the Bible is inerrant. The following points are from The Counter-Creationism Handbook:
- Inerrancy cannot be trusted. Errors can only be corrected if they are first recognized and admitted. Inerrancy makes that impossible. Therefore, errors in an inerrant interpretation of the Bible can never be fixed.
- Inerrancy is a contempt that breeds hate. Inerrantists take it as divinely certain that other people's religious views are inferior to their own. One reaps what one sows, so when interrantists show their contempt, contempt for their own religious views is returned. History is full of blood as a result of this kind of contempt.
- Inerrancy also rejects Biblical scholarship to the point where the studier of the Bible becomes persecuted. Those who accept inerrancy generally ignore textual criticism; most inerrantists accept the King James version of the Bible as authoritative, yet scholars have proven through analysis of biblical manuscripts that the KJV includes numerous errors. For example, the story of Jesus chiding those who would stone an adulteress (John 8:1-11) does not appear until about 300 years after the Gospel of John was written.
- Inerrantists ignore source criticism. Many stories in the Bible are repeated, but with different emphasis, different details and different language. These differences show that the Bible was written by different people at different times for different purposes, and their accounts were redacted by people with still different motives (RE Friedman 1987).
- Inerrantists ignore the reality of syncretism, the process by which rituals and concepts from one religion are adapted by another. Many biblical stories (such as the Flood story) shoes Sumerian and Caananite influence.
- Inerrantists ignore the values of the writers of the Bible, who likely did not distinguish literalism or consider it important. The Bible was not written to record accurate histories, but to convey and persuade spiritual ideas. Those ideas may not even be the same to all people,
- Jesus himself said that religious laws are not absolute. In Matthew 5:38 he rejects the "eye for an eye" law (Exodus 21:23-25, Leviticus 24:19-20, Deuteronomy 19:21). Jesus rejected all dietary law (Mark 7:19; cf. Lev. 11) He rejected the commandment about working on the Sabbath (Mark 2:27). If Jesus himself considered that even the laws of Moses were not inerrant, then why should anyone consier any part of the Bible inerrant? (Isaak 209-11)
For that matter, since we're talking about science, the Bible says that the earth is flat and covered with a dome, and some people believe it because the Bible says it because the Bible is inerrant (Schadewald 1987). Leviticus 11:6 states (wrongly) that rabbits chew their cuds. They do not. Leviticus 11:20-23 speaks of four legged insects, including grasshoppers. Grasshoppers have six legs. I Chronicles 16;30 and Psalm 93:1 state that the earth is immobile, yet it not only revolves and orbits the sun but it is also influenced by the gravitational pull of other bodies. Of course, Ken Ham and his "scientists" (who are not peer reviewed, unlike Dr. Hoover), also believe that God couldn't possibly have created any other life other than that on Earth. Thus the inerrantists perceive themselves to be higher than God, which the Bible says God cast out Lucifer for (Isaiah 14:12).
Second, this is not the first time Dr. Hoover has made such claims. On August 2, 2004, the www.panspermia.org website announced the same finding:
Richard B. Hoover of NASA/NSSTC announced today the discovery of evidence for the detection of a fossilized cyanobacterial mat in a freshly fractured, interior surface of the Orgueil carbonaceous meteorite.2
Three years later, Dr. Hoover presented a paper entitled “Microfossils of cyanobacteria in carbonaceous meteorites” at a conference for the Society of Professional Instrumentation Engineers.
Well, yeah. That's what happens in science. Research gets submitted for peer review, either accepted (or not), and resubmitted numerous times, even over periods of decades as it is reviewed by other scientists, researched and re-researched. This is called (wait for it) the SCIENTIFIC METHOD.
The folks at AGI sagely remark
Third, since he was examining microscopic features, his interpretation of fossilized microbes is questionable. [Note they don't say how in scientific terms]. In fact, many secular scientists who are no friends to Answers in Genesis seriously doubt Hoover’s claims. For example, Phil Plait, the creator of the Bad Astronomy blog has written an article calling into question the report.3"
Well, in response to that, people in the scientific world are being cautious. Even NASA has distanced themselves from Hoover because nobody wants to come out and say "Hey, we've found an alien species," when nobody knows FOR SURE. When Copernicus stated that the earth revolved around the sun other scientists said he was wrong too (little problem with the Catholic Church needing an earth centered universe for its own cosmology/Biblical purposes). However, nobody is saying Hoover is RIGHT or WRONG–they're applying the scientific method of QUESTIONING the evidence, STUDYING the evidence and researching the evidence over and over– in a FOXNews exclusive interview:
Knowing that the study will be controversial, the journal invited members of the scientific community to analyze the results and to write critical commentaries ahead of time. Though none are online yet, those comments will be posted alongside the article, said Dr. Rudy Schild, a scientist with the Harvard-Smithsonian's Center for Astrophysics and the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Cosmology.
"Given the controversial nature of his discovery, we have invited 100 experts and have issued a general invitation to over 5,000 scientists from the scientific community to review the paper and to offer their critical analysis," Schild wrote in an editor's note along with the article. "No other paper in the history of science has undergone such a thorough vetting, and never before in the history of science has the scientific community been given the opportunity to critically analyze an important research paper before it is published, he wrote."
Again, how much of Ken Hams' "research" is even peer reviewed? Zero.
Fourth, AIG claims that the meteorite could have been contaminated by organisms from earth prior to its examination. Which is pretty much what Hoover says–that the organisms he found nobody knows what they are, but they could be found in the universe just like on Earth. Therefore, the issue of "contamination" is moot.
Finally, be careful as you watch or read the news reports on this subject. Many of the websites have displayed an image of an actual bacteria found on Earth named Titanospirillum velox instead of the image of Hoover’s research from the meteorite which displays some similarities to that particular bacteria.
This appears to be another piece of news in a long line of claims purportedly demonstrating the “proof” of life in outer space, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see it quietly swept under the rug in the coming weeks. Christians have no need to worry about this latest proclamation since we have the only reliable and infallible record of earth history in the Bible.
First, the image (which has been shown on most reports) is a comparison to Titanospirillum velox which is on the LEFT. The actual bacteria ON the meteorite is on the RIGHT. They share similarities, as AIG says :
And the good folks at AIG end with the same inerrancy argument with which they began, and which we've already discussed. The Bible is not a science manual. In wishing to refute evolution as "only a theory", Ham et. Al. have made the classic errors of misdefining what scientific theory actually is. They have made the classic fallacy of stating that evolution cannot be proven with absolute certainty, ignoring the huge amounts of evidence supporting evolution (Theobald 2004).
And finally, they have placed themselves above God when they restrict the Almighty to one form of creation. God can do as he likes; he is omnipotent. It could be argued that God could use evolution to create, indeed, evidence exists in volumes such as similiarity in structure between a human hand, a bat wing, a horse leg, a whale flipper and mole forelimbs all have similar bone structures despite their different functions (Isaak 19).
We won't even go into Ham's assertion (not peer reviewed, mind you), that dinosaurs and human beings co-existed. They base this assertion on HM Morris' assertion that human and dinosaur footprints have been found together in the Glen Rose formation at Puluxy River, Texas. (Morris 1985, 122). Hastings 1987, Kuban 1989 and Schadewald 1986 all state categorically that although some of the prints are dinosaur prints, other prints are erosional features or other irregularities. They show no clear human features without selective highlighting. Godfrey 1985 found that some of the prints showed deliberate alteration.
One leaves the world of Ken Ham and AIG with the sense of having awoken from a bizarre dream. Let's hope that not too many people are paying cash money down for it. Oh wait. They are:
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Isaak, Mark. The Counter Creationism Handbook. Berkeley: The University of California Press, 2007.