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How Old is Old?- Part 1

Chris Holland
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Chris Holland

Associate Director of HopeLives365 and World Evangelist for Adventist World Radio



  • October 8, 2016
    11:30 AM
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It has stood the test of time with God's Book the Bible still relevant in today's complex world. It is with messages of hope around the world. The great questions of life philosophy science. Many have asked the question How old are we now when we were born in a hospital but really what is the origin of all things I am thrilled to have with me in studio Dr Tim Standish Dr Standish is a friend of mine and he is a friend of the show Dr Standish want to welcome you again to it is written to have a discussion on origins. Well thank you. It's great to be back. Now Dr Standish for those who are watching maybe for the first time enough familiar with who you are you are a senior scientist with the geo science research institute. You have a B.A. excuse me a B.S. in zoology and master's in biology. Then you have a P.H.D. in environmental biology and public policy from George Mason University down in Virginia in the States. That's correct. And that's a lot and a big mouthful but maybe just as a bit of a review what is it that the geo science research institute has dedicated itself to. What is the mission. And what are you doing with the geo science research institute. Well the. The geoscience research is to is to seek out understandings that make sense of the Bible and Science. Now most of the time. If you look at most things are in the Bible and Science are not necessarily in conflict with when one of the clear statements of Scripture really don't conflict with what science has discovered. OK. Occasionally you find things that are remarkable. Congruity says they particularly in archaeology. Yes. However there are also some areas. Surprisingly small number of areas where there's some tension between the way that scientists at least traditionally have been interpretating the data from nature. And the clear claims that are made in Scripture. So where that tension exists is really where we are interested. There is there's something interesting going on and what do we do with it. We're all Christians were also all Ph D. scientists who remain active in our in our disciplines. Yes So we sometimes struggle with this. Sometimes we think we come up with good answers. Sometimes we have to say you know what we don't have as yet we live by faith as all Christians do. Yes. Any exciting project that you're working on right now. Well in a number of things that I've been working on probably the thing I'm most excited about is a paper that one of the graduate students I worked with. Published as a senior or obviously I'm on it that deals with something that seems very obscure I know but it's the Natan habits of a certain kind of sea turtle that that's endangered this particular one isn't super endangered but we study species. He's there is not in critical danger and see if we can't find out things there that then we can apply with with those that are more threatened. OK And we're able to use molecular genetics as a way of figuring out. Some very interesting things about the mating habits of these sea turtles Wow that is very very fascinating. You know Dr Standish as a scientist. You've made a decision and that is your decision is that you believe there is a divine force God who has caused creation. Yes. Why have you come and this is a big question that could take a long hours for us to go through a fundamentally why is it that you have come to that conclusion which is vastly different than a great deal of the scientific community because my my first question back was going to be held or use this. There are there are several reasons I would draw your attention. First of all. Of all of the accounts of origins. To me as a scientist the one that makes the most sense. Is the biblical account of origins. That doesn't mean that I don't recognize that there are some tensions in there. Yes. There are some difficulties and I don't have all of the all of the answers but the the tensions with other views of how things are worked out so much greater that I have faith that the tensions that existed between the claims of scripture in terms of origins the relatively small number of issues of a greater hope of resolution to me OK than the massive. Problems that I see particularly with Darwinism. But also belief systems like theistic evolution. And so on. It. You know we don't have all the answers on these things which is what makes them interesting. Yes sometimes I speak at churches and I meet people who do have all the answers and they must live boring sad life we don't have all the answers but I go with the Bible. Because it makes rational sense and because it doesn't line up with the data very well of course that's obviously there's still a step of faith there. Yes The other another. Well one of the reason is that the Bible gives hope it gives us hope for the future. The new creation. Yes. It also gives us hope. In in the moment as well. There is a creator God He does love us. He is wise. He cares about us and I believe that he is active in the lives of human beings and in His creation. And so from your observation you've come to this conclusion that the biblical model. Is this is the best model and so here is the question that I have for you know when you look out in the world when you read there are many people that talk about right about origins. And for lack of a better word the seeming go to model is in is an evolutionary model that. That takes millions of years to produce complex organisms. And then eventually human beings. Why do you have a problem with that. My primary problem is that ultimately I don't see it as being a scientific. Undertaking. There are. A number of reasons. Again for that number one we see this kind of theory. From long before the emergence of modern science. So for example if you go back to the Roman writer Titus Lucretia's keris OK. He actually lays out a theory of evolution in which the atoms move around randomly without any guidance from the gods and through unguided interactions they form the earth the sea the sky and the generation of living creatures and I'm paraphrasing him in English and in Latin teacher and he died about fifty five B.C. so before the time of Christ these ideas were around. They didn't have the methods of trying to date things that we have today. But another thing the really bothers me as a scientist is that everything all the really heavy lifting is put way back in the past words unobservable and untestable So a lot of what is postulated to have happened is philosophically necessary. Given the presuppositions of being started with but they are not evidence based. Things. Now there is some evidence out there that can be well interpreted within that Darwinian model. Yes So we don't want to pretend that that's not the case however I believe that the majority of the evidence is not well interpreted within that model and is far better interpreted within the the the view that is presented in Scripture. OK now I need to. Kind of put my mind around this you know when I grew up I grew up in school being taught that this model of millions and sometimes conversation even of billions of years and the catch phrase for this model is served by all of the fittest. I grew up learning that. So tell me what I mean what's what's the problem you don't see survival of the fittest I'm still I'm I'm I'm pulling from your comments. Why aren't you seeing survival of the fittest Well let me rephrase slightly. Charles Darwin came up with a theory of evolution based on the idea of natural selection. OK. Now. Natural selection was kind of paraphrased as survival of the fittest OK. And this is a term that's commonly used and it does capture some of the meaning of it. Yes. The idea is that certain individuals. Produce offspring and others don't. And the that is not a purely random thing. The ones that produced more offspring have something about them. The can be inherited. That is passed on to their offspring that that somehow or other causes them to make more babies. Yes. So he who has the most babies wins. OK In this model is they could be really boiled down to that. And. Obviously there is some truth to natural selection. The question is does natural selection really explain what we see in the world today. What Charles Darwin said was that. You started out with one organism and it developed very. Patients and certain variations were Sapir e or were selected above others. And as these different organisms sort of split apart you slowly got many many many different kinds of organisms a pattern by the way that is almost the opposite of what you see in the fossil record. But we can talk about that you know if you know roughly that that's that's a big topic we're going to have a whole couple of shows on the fossil right. However in in this view you have organisms that are competing with one another for survival all the time and everything is in in a in a struggle to the death. And the most closely related things are in the most intense struggle to the death. OK with one another because you know you are a human being. And I'm a human being. So we eat the same kind of food and in this Darwinian view there's only so much of that food. So we have to fight over it to see who gets it and whoever wins gets to eat and gets to breed. And so. So this very survival of the fittest the more proper term in the evolutionary model is natural selection. Now you said something and I I want to spend just a moment kind of digressing just a little bit. You say you. There are certain instances where natural selection is is happening we can observe this. Well yes babies of the stillborn. Don't get to have more babies. Yes. So if there's some genetic reason that you know a child is dying. Before it reaches the age that can reproduce. Obviously that's natural selection at work. What natural selection seems to do in nature is. Kind of keep things the same. OK It it it it stops while variations that a lethal to the to the to that particular species of organism. And you just said something now that's got my mind kind of kind of exploding with questions you said natural selection actually narrows things. Well keeps thing stable keeps things stable. However. However when we have this natural selection keeping thing stable. It seems in evolutionary explanations that natural selection is actually used to explain the development of organisms into another organism. There are really two parts of the theory of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. OK that you have to understand to understand how this all works together. You start out with variation. OK if you look at organisms like you and me. We're a bit different. Yes. Both very handsome but a little bit. It was and so that variation is then acted on by natural selection. Now most of the time. What natural selection seems to do what it's been observed to do is kind of keep things the same. It stops these wild variations. According to Darwin's theory occasionally there's a variation that makes. You have more babies. And whatever that variation is it could be you know having a larger nose or having blond hair and blue eyes I don't know what sort of things make human beings have more babies but something genetic makes you have more babies and then that's passed on and natural selection kind of then moves towards that. A new kind of standard. OK So you know the idea is that natural selection can sort of move an organism in a certain direction even though there's no goal in mind it's just a matter of a certain variation making more babies. So that's how it's supposed to work at least. And why do you think that that's not how it works and when you observe nature. You're coming to a different conclusion than Darwinian evolution. Well certainly from a scientific perspective it just doesn't look like it works. First of all when we when we try doing selection on organisms dogs for example. OK What we find is that we can get amazing variability in dogs you get little Chihuahua as a big great danes and so you've got this incredible variety in his dogs however you don't have elephant sized dogs and you don't have dogs turning into watermelons or something like that there is. There's a limit on the variability and once you hit that limit. You just don't seem to be able to go beyond that. That's very interesting and. I spent a few years learning about growing apples and I knew a man in Wisconsin who had an orchard he grew four hundred fifty varieties of Apple Wow. And it's a fascinating thing he had apples called Coconut crunch which had the crunch of a coconut but at the end of the day it was still an apple and another Apple called Whole why that had a little tinge of pineapple flavor to it. However it wasn't a pineapple it was still an apple. So what you're saying is when we observe we see variety but there's a limit to that variety. You don't have a dog becoming an elephant. It just doesn't work that way. It's not it's certainly not some. That we've observed. Now I sometimes use Rosa's as an example you can have red roses you can have yellow roses you can have white roses and you have all sorts of variations in between. Because roses. Have the genetic potential to make those different colors in this pink rose has just a small amount of the red pigment produced this. Amazing variety within roses but you don't have blue roses. I genuinely believe just right. Right now. I've actually tried to make blue roses I I actually grew something called a blue rose. It was a very sick kind of rose not a happy rose and it certainly was not blue not blue like yes. The way you make a blue roses by either using Photoshop to photograph certain turn it blue or perhaps you know dyeing it blue in some way or you can take a gene for making a blue pigment from another flower and put it into a rose and you can actually do that. That's engineering. It's guided it's intelligent design. Yes So we know that ultimately variability like this the kind of sort of big jumps in variability The You've got to have if you're going to evolve a rose into your iris or something that those don't happen when we do our official selection. Why would we expect that they happen when you do. Natural selection for which there is no God now. Now. Well this is so what. When we when we look at it maybe a word that we could use is there is harmony rather than this. Fighting for survival. What do you what do you see there. Well there. There is amazing harmony in nature and frankly the idea of survival of the fittest in my opinion is quite a corrosive view of nature. Biology is not in a constant state of war. You know we're not in a gigantic competition for mates and food right with each other we have a good friendly cooperative relationship but if you look at nature in general that's the way it works in fact that's the way it has to work. Think about bees and flowers. Yes they are not in a competition with one another for survival. They're cooperating with one another. The flower is producing pollen that it wants the bee to carry for it to another flower and it is also producing nectar that the be that then feeds the bee and rewards the B. for doing it so everybody comes out on top. Another example would be the fungus that grows in in association with the roots of plants. This is an amazing amazing relationship. That's there. They're not at war with each other all the plant. Supplies sugar the fungus supplies mineral. It increases the surface area of the roots it can absorb more water. It's and by the way it's also been found that plants can signal using the fungus between one plant and another this is remarkable human beings our cells. You know there are more non human cells in the human body than there are human cells. Now that's because to a large degree bacterial cells are much smaller than the average human cell but in our gut. We have all. Kinds of different bacteria that live in there and help us without those bacteria we probably couldn't survive. So we have a beautiful co-operative into dependent relationship with all of these organisms that live on us and in us and without them we can become very ill. And without that cooperation. And a model that requires a warring for survival in fact it would seem to do almost the opposite in that you would have nothing survive because you would not have this interdependence a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand the quote Jesus Christ Himself Yes the yes if all of nature was at war with everything else. Life could not exist at least it certainly doesn't look as if life could exist and irrespective of whether it could exist or not what we actually observe in nature is the vast majority of the time amazing cooperation. And not some kind of fight to the death of a survival. And so having said that and I would use this word harmony again this this harmony and interdependence as a scientist as a zoologist a biologist an environmental biologist. And as you observe nature and we're given several example roses. Bacteria. What is this all point to for you to me it points towards a plan. Imagine. A factory. That if you're going to produce something in a factory there has to be a plan and also different systems have to come together and work together in a cooperative way. We know that that's healthy. Things work. When we look at nature we see something vastly more beautiful than a factory or anything that a human being has made us why would we interpret it differently then than we do something as ugly as a factory. Nothing has factory go to a sure shot but they do illustrate an important point. Nature. Requires a plan to work a plan for that cooperation and without a plan there would be nothing. And I don't want to make too big of a jump Dr Standish But if there's a plan. It would seem to me to indicate that there is a plan or somebody designed it obliterates the plan is and as you observe. And as you ask this question. And as you see there's design. There's a plan which must mean there's a designer or a planner. Ultimately in your mind. Who is that planner or that designer. Well that is Jesus Christ and probably the most amazing thing about history to me is it's indisputable that Jesus Christ existed. Jesus Christ came down became part of his creation and demonstrated his power over the creation and this is a matter of historical record. Yes it's not fanciful stories. It's an actual historical record that we have of this occurring to to to go with any other idea is simply a denial of history. So I'm very pleased to not. Deny history and to accept a view that makes sense and is beautiful and so Dr Standish we are unfortunately out of time. Once again. But what a beautiful thing nature demonstrates there is a plan and a plan requires a planner and that planner is Jesus Christ like. Let's pray Lord we thank you that there is a plan that you are that planner and that you have a plan for each and every one of us. We thank you so much in Jesus' name amen. My dear friends. What a phenomenal thing. It is to know that there is a plan and behind that plan. There is a plan and that planner is God and he has a plan for your life today. I'd like to offer you the book beyond imagination a book by Dr James Gibson the director of the geoscience Research Institute in addition to that maybe you want to learn more about how to enter into a relationship with that plan or jesus christ like to also offer to you. The Discover Bible lessons which will take you on a journey of discovering a relationship with him. Here's the information you need to receive today's offers to request today's offer. Just log on to W.W.W. dot. It is written canada dot ca for Canadian viewers the offer will be sent free and postage paid for viewers outside of Canada shipping charges will apply if you prefer. You may call toll free at one eight eight eight call that's one eight eight eight Call Call any time lines are open twenty four. Hours daily. That's one eight eight eight call or if you wish you may write to us at eight is written box twenty ten Oshawa Ontario L one H seven before Dr Standish thank you so much for being with us today. Thanks so much for having me. Different I want to invite you to join us again next week as Dr Standish and I continue our discussion on origins. Until then remember it is written man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.


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