Re: Evolution: The Anti-science by Jason Lisle

First: Uniformity and Uniformitarianism are the same thing. Invariance (backwards and forwards) over time (Uniformity) of natural laws gives both: the future reflects the past and the present is the key to the past. If natural laws are invariant, then processes, which are the implementation of natural laws must also be invariant: a chemical reaction at STP done at T1 will be the same reaction at STP done at T2 regardless of T1 and T2.

Second: why do you insist the evolutionist justify Uniformitarianism? It is an axiom! A scientist (evolutionist or creationist) deals with the way the universe operates; he is not concerned with why it is the way it is. This does not make him inconsistent.

Third: Are you saying that Genesis 8:22 is the only rationale for Uniformity. One can infer Uniformity based on the nature of God who is beyond time, consistent, faithful, all powerful, omnipresent without invoking Gen 1–11.

—L.W., U.S.


First: Uniformity and Uniformitarianism are the same thing. Invariance (backwards and forwards) over time (Uniformity) of natural laws gives both: the future reflects the past and the present is the key to the past.

Uniformity is distinct from uniformitarianism. The former asserts a consistency in the way the universe operates (if conditions are the same, one can expect the same outcome). In other words, the laws of nature are constant, but conditions and specific processes may be quite different in time or space. Conversely, uniformitarianism asserts that there is a consistency of conditions and processes. Uniformitarianism, as it pertains to geology, asserts that the geological past must be understood in light of present conditions and processes.

Blown Away

I was taught the public school message of millions of years, and believed this to be true. I also collect fossils and minerals and gained identification knowledge simply by reading and studying for over 30 years. When I heard your message a few years ago, my eyes were opened. I was blown away!!! It has changed everything for me. I continue to be associated with earth science clubs and do a lot of lapidary work, but my perspective is so different now. My wife is a Christian school teacher, and I do the elementary chapel services. I recently taught the earth science section for her class and explained the age of the earth.

—T.H., U.S.

The Message of the Debate

Thank you Ken and Jason for participating in the Great Debate. Inspite of the fact that the playing field was tilted to favour the old earth/evolution position, any clear-headed, spirit-filled Christian will have been challenged and edified by the points you managed to make.

There is much in the detail of the conduct and reasoning of messrs Ankerberg, Kaiser, and Ross that can be criticised, but I was left with one overall impression:

Men love their dreams and the creations of their own mind. There is a god that is beloved by, and revealed by philosophers, and there is the Creator God who is revealed through His Holy Word by the power of His Holy Spirit. Evolution and millions of years are the work of the minds of men—not of our Creator God. But the men who love these ideas cannot give them up. They would rather that God become less than He truly is to fit their ideas than give up their reputations and bow before Him. It is the Truth that sets us free. God Bless you and all at AiG.

—J.W., U.K.

Have Something to Add?

Let us know what you think.

As an example, consider canyon formation. Today, in most cases, canyons are gradually deepening as water slowly erodes the surrounding rock layers. A person holding to uniformitarianism would assume that this has always been the case; he would believe that a canyon has formed by water slowly eroding the surrounding rock layers since “the present is the key to the past.”

However, this need not be so. A number of geologists believe that many canyons (such as the Grand Canyon) were not formed (entirely) by the slow and gradual erosion from the river they now contain. Rather, some canyons were formed quickly under catastrophic conditions. So, the present is not the key to the past in these cases. Yet, the laws of nature presumably have been the same. Therefore, this is an example of uniformity, but not uniformitarianism.

If natural laws are invariant, then processes, which are the implementation of natural laws must also be invariant:

No, this doesn’t follow logically. Many processes (such as erosion) are not only dependent on the laws of nature, but also on conditions. For example, during flood conditions, erosion happens much more quickly than at other times, even though natural laws remain constant.

a chemical reaction at STP done at T1 will be the same reaction at STP done at T2 regardless of T1 and T2.

Your analogy above is an example of uniformity—not uniformitarianism. If the conditions are the same, then the same result happens. However, there is no guarantee that conditions have always been constant. Chemical reactions in nature, for example, may have happened at different temperatures and pressures than today, leading to different results. So, we have uniformity, but not uniformitarianism. Hopefully the difference is now clear.

Second: why do you insist the evolutionist justify Uniformitarianism?

A belief must be justified if it is to be considered rational. Otherwise, it is merely an arbitrary “blind” assumption. Children believe things without good reasons; they are convinced that there is a monster in the closet. And they feel no need to justify their belief; it is enough that they act on it (by pulling the sheets over their head). But, obviously, more should be expected from adults. The rational person has a reason (or reasons) for the things he or she believes.

It is an axiom!

Even if we accept it as an axiom, a belief still requires some sort of justification if it is to be considered rational and not arbitrary. If it is arbitrary, then why not assume the exact opposite? Uniformity makes sense in my worldview: uniformity is what I would expect based on the Bible. I have a reason to believe in uniformity, and thus, I have justification for science. The evolutionist does not. He or she must either accept uniformity without reasons (on “blind faith”) or justify it by the Bible, which is contrary to evolution. The evolutionist cannot escape the irrationality of his or her position. Incidentally, I reject uniformitarianism because the Bible indicates that past conditions (such as during the Flood year) were quite different than today’s conditions.

A scientist (evolutionist or creationist) deals with the way the universe operates; he is not concerned with why it is the way it is. This does not make him inconsistent.

In order to study how the universe operates, we need to know something about why it is the way it is. The two are different, but not totally unrelated. If the universe is merely a mindless accident, why would we expect it to be orderly, or obey mathematical laws? Why should I expect my senses to reliably inform my mind, if both are simply the results of mutations that conveyed some sort of survival value in the past? There would be no reason to think that science is even possible in such a universe. On the other hand, the biblical worldview makes sense of science. So, the way in which we do science (and even the possibility of doing science at all) requires us to know something about how the universe came to be.

Third: Are you saying that Genesis 8:22 is the only rationale for Uniformity. One can infer Uniformity based on the nature of God who is beyond time, consistent, faithful, all powerful, omnipresent without invoking Gen 1–11.

Uniformity cannot be justified without the Bible. The divine qualities you listed are necessary but not sufficient to warrant uniformity. The reason is that although such a God has the power to uphold the universe in a uniform fashion, He might not choose to do so. A God who has revealed Himself to mankind is required. Without the Bible we would have no guarantee that God has indeed chosen to uphold things uniformly in the future. Nor could we know that God is indeed all powerful, beyond time, faithful, and so on unless He has told us so.

Although there are verses beyond Genesis 8:22 by which one might infer uniformity, a biblical worldview is required nonetheless. And since all the other books of the Bible depend on a literal Genesis in order to be meaningful, Genesis is required to justify uniformity.

Thank you for your message. I hope my response has been helpful to you.

Dr. Jason Lisle

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