Review and analysis of "More than a Theory" 201004


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Review and critical analysis of More Than a Theory. Presented at the RTB group in Atlanta, April 2010. This presentation surfaces the key ideas and arguments in this book, and provides news on how RTB is proactively attempting to build relationships.

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Review and analysis of "More than a Theory" 201004

  1. 1. Review and Critical Analysis:More than a Theory (2009) byHugh RossPresented by Mark Tabladillo Ph.D.Atlanta, GAApril 29, 2010
  2. 2. About Hugh Ross Physics and Astronomy training Researched quasi-stellar objects (“quasars”) at Caltech Founded science-faith think tank Reasons to Believe in 1986 Loves the outdoors, hiking, trail running and photography Wife is Kathy, and has two sons
  3. 3. Hugh Ross’ Philosophy God’s revelations in Scripture and nature do not, will not, and cannot contradict Motivated to communicate this message as broadly and clearly as possible Leverages books, articles, podcasts, interviews, debates, and presentations to communicate his message Treats comments and questions with respect
  4. 4. William Lane Craigon Ross’ Theology Critique of Beyond the Cosmos Retrieved April 27, 2010 from (version with Craig’s diagrams intact) Response and Resolution Retrieved April 27, 2010 from
  5. 5. Hugh Ross Reader William Lane Craig I recently read Dr. Hugh You can find my critique of Hugh’s views in “Hugh Ross’s Extra- Ross books, The Creator Dimensional Deity,” Philosophia Christi 21 (1998): 17-32; “Hugh Ross’s Extra- and the Cosmos, and Beyond Dimensional Deity: A Review Article,” the Cosmos. He explains Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 42 (1999): 293-304; and in much of Gods interactions Time and Eternity (Crossway, 2001). with humanity and our Yes, I find it very problematic. spiritual decisions through Retrieved April 27, 2010 from an extradimensional framework. ews2?page=NewsArticle&id=8045 Extradimensional God
  6. 6. About Christians in Science Based in England ”In spite of Ross skepticism towards evolution, the success of his old earth advocacy amongst evangelicals has made him the bête noire of the YECS [young- earth creation science] community”Retrieved April 27, 2010 from
  7. 7. How I came to read More than aTheory Officer Training Course This book is the current key text required for the RTB local chapter (or network) Officer Training Course. I had previously not heard of Hugh Ross or RTB until I had attended a local RTB group meeting in Fall 2009. However, the conclusions of old-earth creationism match my own conclusions on 1) the age of the universe, which in the 1980s, I came to believe as being that age, and 2) my skepticism with macroevolution, as I have (for example) interacted with authors of articles in American Scientist (since I am a full life member of Sigma Xi). These previous life experiences make my personal conclusions more in line with the RTB creation model as contrasted with the other three positions mentioned in More than a Theory.
  8. 8. After Critical Analysis:Personal Resolution Sign the RTB Statement of Faith and support the local chapter Encourage the local chapter to promote education on both science and Christian theology Promote the concept of “Missional Basis for Science” I decided to provide the conclusion at the beginning, because the slides in this presentation might cause some mental discomfort.
  9. 9. Outline Descriptive Applying the Responses Review of Dual from RTB More than a Revelation Competitors Theory Model
  10. 10. RTB Creation Model Comprehensive Flexible and Self-Correcting Ongoing
  11. 11. Do you think human beings developed from earlier species or not? (Harris Poll) 60 50 40PERCENTAGE 30 March 1994 June 2005 20 10 0 Yes No Not sure/Decline to answer
  12. 12. Do you believe apes and man have a common ancestry or not? (Harris Poll) 60 50 40 March 1994PERCENTAGE 30 June 2005 20 10 0 Yes No Not sure/Decline to answer
  13. 13. Scoring the Models (Chapters 2, 16)Position VoiceNaturalism Richard DawkinsYoung-Earth Institute for Creation Research Individuals in each of the last three rows Answers in Genesis (Creation Museum) could believe in the inerrant and infallible Bible, and couldTheistic Evolution BioLogos Foundation subscribe to Gods dual revelation in nature and the Bible, and still promote aRTB Creation Reasons to Believe different creation model.See
  14. 14. Testing the First Amendment Epperson v. Arkansas (1968) McLean v. Arkansas (1981) Only young-earth creationism has lost in court (in the United States). Aguillard v.Treen (1983) Edwards v. Aguillard (1987)
  15. 15. Model Testing Give a wider and more detailed view Make better sense of established data Provide a more reasonable and consistent explanation Result in fewer unexpected anomalies and gaps Prove more successful in anticipating or predicting future findings
  16. 16. Biblical Structure of RTB Model Dual Revelation Detectability Creation of the Divine Purposes Creation Chronology
  17. 17. RTB: Simple Sciences First Simple = Phenomena well defined by mathematical I used fireworks graphics for the discussion questions equations because fireworks are both explosive and beautiful. Defined by causal relationships Therefore – “philosophical and theological conclusions may be more easily drawn from the simple sciences than from the complex” (Page 68)Discussion Question for People at Round Tables: What do you think about this statement?In the interactive responses, some both agreed and disagreed with this statement. My partialdisagreement is that the theology of the Bible is not typically argued through mathematics. Mylater question on good theology surfaced that we need a broader discussion of the how Godbuilds arguments both in the Bible and our personal lives too. The term "argument" is central tothis organization since it promotes reasons to believe in Christianity.
  18. 18. RTB Model Elements Cosmos (Chapter 7) Galaxies, Stars and Planets (Chapter 8) Life’s Beginning and Extraterrestrial Homes (Chapter 9) Life’s History (Chapter 10) Advanced Life (Chapter 11) Origin and History of Humanity (Chapter 12) The “Why” Question Test (Chapter 13)
  19. 19. RTB Major Science Claims Anthropic Principle (Chapter 7) Uniqueness of the Milky Way (Chapter 8) God prepared the Earth (Chapters 9, 10) Not all animals purely physical (Chapter 11) People are intellectual (Chapter 12) Naturalistic rationale for destruction and catastrophe (Chapter 13)
  20. 20. Outline Descriptive Applying the Responses Review of Dual from RTB More than a Revelation Competitors Theory Model
  21. 21. Dual Revelation Model Nature Bible
  22. 22. Supporting Nature as Revelation Jeremiah 23:24; 33:25 Psalm 19:1-4; 50:6; 97:6 Romans 1:18-23
  23. 23. Dual Revelation Model Nature Bible Science Theology"Revelation" simply means what God made to be revealed. I agree that both nature and the Bibleare revelations from God. Though, in theological context, one of the most historically debated booksof the Bible is "Revelation". We should be therefore cautious in separating speculation from fact.
  24. 24. Science differs from advocacy. Advocacy is a statement. Science asks a question, where we could be genuinely surprised by the answer.What is “science”? Some people assume they are doing science (or research) but in fact are doing advocacy. I do not believe there is anything inherently immoral Represented by or unethical with advocacy, but we should clarify the four models the difference. Models Ross contrasts in More than a Theory. Difference between science and advocacy? Discussion Question for People at each Round Table: What is good science? I believe the audience had the best overall clarity of expression on this question.
  25. 25. Ross on Scientific Method “While the scientific method doesn’t guarantee objectivity and accuracy, it does minimize the effects of oversight, personal bias, and presuppositions… The need for ongoing adjustment and refinement never ends.” (Page 51)
  26. 26. Only 8% members of the ScientificResearch Society agreed that peerreview works well as it is. (Chubinand Hackett, 1990; p.192)Chubin, D. R. and Hackett E. J., 1990, Peerless Science, Peer Reviewand U.S. Science Policy; New York, State University of New YorkPress.
  27. 27. "A recent U.S. Supreme Courtdecision and an analysis of the peerreview system substantiatecomplaints about this fundamentalaspect of scientific research."(Horrobin, 2001)Horrobin, D., 2001, "Something Rotten at the Core of Science?" Trends inPharmacological Sciences,Vol. 22, No. 2, February 2001. Also at and (both Web pages were accessedon February 1, 2010
  28. 28. What is “theology”? The "models" of theology are represented by the various denominations (for example) within orthodox Models Christianity. We see this diversity in the people who participate with RTB. Difference between theology and advocacy? What is the difference between researching theology and the Bible and advocating a denominational position?Discussion question for People at each Round Table:What is good theology?After giving people a chance to discuss this question, I allowed each table shared witheveryone. Some concluded that they did not have clarity on how to express this issue, andmany concluded that a lot of what they personally do is advocate rather than study (orresearch) theology.I encouraged people to study this topic further on their own. As an easy segue, I believe wecan answer this question based on our own personal testimony. Specifically, I encouragedstudying two concepts: miracles and the Holy Spirit. I dont think we had any Pentecostals inthe audience, but the Holy Spirit in my mind is the living connection we have with the nowancient creeds. We can research how (for example) the Bible came to be canonized andreach the same conclusion.
  29. 29. Staying out of the Conflict American Scientific Affiliation “the ASA does not take a position when there is honest disagreement between Christians on an issue.”Retrieved April 27, 2010 from
  30. 30. Staying out of the Conflict Ravi Zacharias Ministries “RZIM does not have an official ministry position on the age of the earth. The focus of RZIM is apologetics and evangelism, and thus we do not address particular questions about creation, though we are committed to defending theism against naturalism.”Retrieved April 27, 2010 from
  31. 31. Staying out of the Conflict Ravi Zacharias Ministries Ajoy Varghese, Asst. Director (Ministries), India – report from Atlanta visit “Two scientists thanked me for opening their eyes to the richness of God’s word. One of them had doubts about the creation/evolution debate. After discussing some basic aspects of the issue, I directed him to the writings of JP Moreland, Hugh Ross etc.”Retrieved April 27, 2010 from
  32. 32. Outline Descriptive Applying the Responses Review of Dual from RTB More than a Revelation Competitors Theory Model
  33. 33. Websites analyzing Hugh Ross orReasons to BelieveOrganization Category URLAmerican Scientific Noncommittal in Genesis Young-Earth http://answersingenesis.orgApologetics 315 Sympathetic to RTB http://apologetics315.blogsp ot.comBioLogos Foundation Theistic Evolution Young-Earth http://christiananswers.netCreation Science Young-Earth http://drdino.orgEvangelismInstitute for Creation Young-Earth http://icr.orgResearchThe Young Earth Young-Earth http://creationists.orgCreation Club
  34. 34. Hugh Ross Critiques "If the Earth were one half Because the Earths orbit is ELLIPTICAL, its distance from the of one percent closer to sun varies by quite a bit more than one half of one per cent, yet it is the sun, water on Earth NOT the case that all the water would boil off. If the Earth either boils off or freezes. were one half of one The distance varies by over 3% in a percent farther from the given year, yet waters dont boil or sun, all the water would freeze. The distance between Earth and Sun is near 92 million miles. freeze." The change in distance due to the orbit of the Earth around the Sun is around 3 million miles. This chart represents a sample critique of the science -- I commented Earth’s Orbit that I do not have severe concern about this specific Ross claim because I accept the entire body of evidence supporting the anthropic principle.
  35. 35. About BioLogos Foundation Theistic Evolution Provides links and resources to major organizations
  36. 36. Dialogue between RTB andBioLogos (January 2010) Clarify for each other our beliefs about and positions on various aspects of creation and evolution. We wanted to establish areas of agreement on science, theology, and philosophy of ministry as well as major differences with the understanding that secondary differences would require additional discussion at a later date. Outline the means by which at least some of the more significant differences between us could potentially be resolved.Retrieved April 27, 2010 from
  37. 37. Dialogue between RTB andBioLogos (January 2010) Set up public forums that will allow both Christians and non-Christians to learn about our respective positions on specific creation and evolution issues, observe our dialogue, and then engage in conversation with us. We agreed that the emphasis in these events must be on education and discussion, but this does not rule out sincere debate. Consider how our interactions with one another might model for the Christian community at large how to approach differences of perspective and interpretation.Retrieved April 27, 2010 from
  38. 38. BioLogos Critique of Hugh Ross Retrieved April 27, 2010 from
  39. 39. BioLogos Critique of Hugh Ross Strong concordists, of which old-earth creationists are the best example, believe that God placed modern scientific ideas in the Bible, sometimes using secret language that could not be understood by the original audience and even the actual writers of the texts. BioLogos rejects this viewpoint because we believe that God worked within the worldview, culture and language of the Biblical authors and since they would not have known, for example, about heliocentricity or the Big Bang, we do not think that God encoded those ideas in the scripture.Retrieved April 27, 2010 from
  40. 40. About Answers in Genesis (AIG) Young-Earth Creationism Produced the Creation Museum Noah’s Ark Problem: Supports rapid subspeciation (as opposed to unrestricted speciation) based on “Kind” in Genesis (Retrieved April 27, 2010 from
  41. 41. Dialogue between RTB and AIG(and other young-earthers) RTB has met AIG in Dallas area seminaries 4-5 times annually “Ultimately, no significant progress was made because the young-earthers are committed to the supreme authority of Scripture, whereas the old-earthers are committed to the authority of the views of the current majority of scientists.”Retrieved April 27, 2010 from
  42. 42. Dialogue between RTB and AIG(and other young-earthers) “The young-earthers wanted to discuss the assumptions used to interpret the scientific evidence, whereas the old-earthers wanted to avoid that discussion, especially in relation to geology and astronomy and the question of the age of the creation.” “For these reasons these young-earth/old- earth discussions finally stalled in 2008.”Retrieved April 27, 2010 from
  43. 43. “In-House” Recent Debate Reasons to Believe vs. Answers in GenesisSee
  44. 44. Answers in Genesis (Feb 2010) We have repeatedly stated in books, on this website, and in videos that holding to the young- earth view is not a requirement for the free gift of salvation offered to us through Jesus’s sacrificial death on the cross. We certainly believe that a person can be a Christian and hold to the Reasons to Believe model (progressive creationism), the framework hypothesis, theistic evolution, or any other harmonistic view out there.Retrieved April 27, 2010 from
  45. 45. Answers in Genesis Critique ofReasons to Believe (Feb 2010) However, our concern is that a person who does this is being completely arbitrary in their hermeneutic (method of interpretation). Dr. Lisle’s statement does not mean that Dr. Ross or Dr. Kaiser are unbelievers, but demonstrates that the big bang is entirely inconsistent with the words of Scripture.Retrieved April 27, 2010 from
  46. 46. Ken Ham (AIG) critiques RTB andBioLogos “Compromise God’s Word in Genesis with the secular beliefs of the day (e.g., big bang, billions of years, death and disease before man, no global Flood, etc.)” “They both feel that young-earth creationists are a serious problem in the church and our views are a huge barrier to effective evangelism” “Their combined efforts will continue to lead Christians astray, especially professors in seminaries and Christian universities”Retrieved April 27, 2010 from
  47. 47. Millard Erickson Makes Peace (Two anecdotes along the way) Exercise caution when working in another field Each discipline can learn from the others Writing benefits from reviews Apologetics, however, requires a team approachRetrieved April 27, 2010 from
  48. 48. RTB (2001) MarkTab 5. The Bible is primarily 5. The Bible is primarily organized around a central organized around a central theological purpose: theological purpose: God communicates His plan God communicates His for human redemption from a plan for human redemption fallen nature through His Son, from a fallen nature Jesus Christ. Likewise, the universe is designed for a through His Son, Jesus central purpose, namely the Christ. Likewise, the glory of God. universe is designed for a Isaiah 43:7 central purpose, namely the Psalm 19:1-2 I believe this issue is important and benefit of humans. Revelation 4:11 directly aligns with a missional framework. MarkTab Recommendation
  49. 49. We should decide what science and theology ideas are more or less important. Because the Bible MarkTab Analysis and Viewpoint allows or permits a specific scientific or theological idea does NOT mean it When communicating science or theology, we is promoting it. need to be clear what is speculation and what Study and Prioritize Ideas Keep in mind how is considered fact (and why, when possible). wise scholars have historically Speculation versus Fact provided various Public communicators have a higher clarity standard interpretations the because their work outruns and outlives them. People book of Revelation. evaluating media work are not just evaluating the Price of Leadership author(s) but also are weighing the consequences of how the work would be received by a general audience. Biblical Permission versus Promotion Philosophy (World View) Matters in ScienceScientists areaffected by Why Christianity accepts Diversity I recently shared with an atheist that diversity is not the fatal blow to Christianity, Missional Basis for Scienceworldview,theology matters, because of unity in Jesusand motives Christ.underlie howpeople apply the ◦ Apologetics reaches maximum effectiveness when we Christians work together as a TEAMscientific method. We do not have a church of God with a mission in the world -- we Apologetics is part of Gods mission to the world. As Millard have a God of mission, with the church in the world. Christians Erickson advised, Christians should work as a TEAM! are called for more than just advocating a model of theology or science, but the somewhat mystical advocacy through the Holy Spirit. Proper teaching on missions provides a framework encompassing all public and private revelations from God.
  50. 50. After Critical Analysis:Personal Resolution Sign the RTB Statement of Faith and support the local chapter Encourage the local chapter to promote education on both science and Christian theology Promote the concept of “Missional Basis for Science”
  51. 51. Conclusion More than a Theory connects four distinct theories with specific testable models: ◦ Naturalism ◦ Young-Earth ◦ Theistic Evolution ◦ RTB Model RTB has proven its desire for interactive dialogue by talking with both BioLogos and AIG (and other groups)At the end of the presentation, I gave away three copies of a book which was not targeted at either science or theology: ARulebook for Arguments by Anthony Weston. I mentor doctoral students at the University of Phoenix and haverecommended this book for them for doing their leadership and management research. The book is relatively inexpensive,and provides a good foundational overview of classic logic and argumentation.