Edited to add: The GeoChristian blogger has responded to our Skepchickating of his poll. I’ve edited a few items below to reflect his response. I apologize if I mis-represented the GeoChristian in any way. Also, I would like to thank the GeoChristian for responding gracefully and inviting the Skepchick readers to look around his site. I encourage you to do that– there is some excellent content on there.
Again, I would like to emphasize that the work the GeoChristian does to encourage conservative Christians to learn about science is important. I’m sure that conservative Christians are much more likely to listen to a fellow Christian than, say, an atheist heathen like me. At the same time, I stand by my opinion that The Bible has no place in geological science except, perhaps, in the investigation of certain stories (such as Noah’s flood) that may have been inspired by actual geological events.
Skepchick readers, thanks for voting “myth” on this poll. Keep it up!
As a new geoblogger with my geology blog Georneys, I have recently started following some other geobloggers. Actually, I’m afraid that a large proportion of the people who read my geoblog are other geobloggers, but that’s okay. I read their blogs, too.
One of the geoblogs that I have started reading- casually- is a blog called The GeoChristian. The blog is written by a
liberal Christian with some science (especially geology) background a B.S. degree in Earth Science and a M.S. degree in Geology. In many ways, I admire this blog and the blogger. The author tries to improve the science education of very conservative Christians, including the Young Earthers. This is a noble effort, and I really hope that the blogger is successful. The blogger accepts an old Earth, which I find comforting.
However, this blog sometimes touches on things that make me upset and angry. I am usually a nice person and try to conform to the “don’t be a dick” skeptical mindset. I don’t attack people about their religious beliefs or try to convert them to my atheism. I try not to bring either religion or atheism into the workplace or into science. I focus on the data, models, and concrete scientific evidence. If someone asks me about my beliefs (or lack thereof), I will be honest, but I won’t bring it up unless they ask. If someone talks about going to church and offers to pray for my mother (who has been very ill recently), I ask them how church was and thank them for praying for my mother. I thank them not because I believe in prayer but rather because I am touched that they are thinking of my mother.
However, when the author of the GeoChristian blog tries to reconcile events in The Bible with geological science, my blood starts boiling. For instance, I just noticed that the GeoChristian has put up a poll titled Understanding Genesis One. This poll asks “What is your preferred interpretation of Genesis One?” and gives a number of options– including a Young Earth Creationist option (6,000 years) and several options trying to re-interpret the text in The Bible in order to make it compatible with the old age of the Earth.
Finally, at the end, there is the option: “Myth — Genesis One is a myth and has no relevance to the true origin of the universe, Earth, life, and humanity.” Sadly, only 7 people have voted for this option (out of 136).
19 people have voted for the Young Earth option while 26 people have voted for the wishy-washy “Old Earth — Not committed to any one particular Biblical interpretation.” You can go to the poll to see the other options.
Some of you may remember how much I hate Young Earth Creationists and my strong opinions on trying to bring The Bible into geology. The Bible is religion and irrelevant to scientific geology.
Here is an excerpt from my Skepchick post (in 2007) “Young Earth Creationists are NOT Geologists” that sums up my viewpoint on The Bible and geology:
As for the intersection of geology with Biblical events of creation… well, the science is totally gone here. Why? Because The Bible is not a scientific text. The Bible is not a historical record. The Bible is not a valid reference for a scientific paper, for a geological paper. Actually, I think that there is some merit to considering geological explanations for events which happened in The Bible, which I personally consider to be a work of fiction inspired by actual events, here and there. Certainly, there have been large floods in the Middle East in the past. Could one of these be a Biblical flood? Sure. Why not? I’m sure geologists and Biblical historians have considered the possibilities. But that’s all they are–possibilities. They are possible inspirations for a fictional work.
As you may have guessed, I voted for the last myth option on the GeoChristian poll. If you agree with my viewpoint, please go vote myth on the poll, too.