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Apologetics Use of Simon Greenleaf – Lying for Jesus

The meme seen below displays a common apologetic claim.

The basics of it are:

Greenleaf was an agnostic, some say atheist, who believed the resurrection of Jesus Christ was either a hoax or a myth.  No stranger to truth, and to the proof of the truth, Greenleaf was a principal founder of the Harvard Law School and a world-renowned expert on evidence. Challenged by one of his students one day to “consider the evidence” for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Greenleaf set out to disprove it, but ended up concluding that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ was indeed fact, not fiction.  Being a man of conviction and reason, and in accordance with his conclusions, Greenleaf converted from Agnosticism to Christianity.

Greenleaf was not an atheist or agnostic or Jew that converted to Christianity by the evidence for the resurrection. He was livelong, active member of the Episcopal Church. He set out to “prove” what he already believed to be true. There is no evidence that he was challenged by his students. While there are elements of truth to the story, the major points which make this a compelling argument for some apologist are not true.
Greenleaf was on the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Maine of the Protestant Episcopal Church in 1827.
(see here) His book was published in 1846.

Not very agnostic/atheist of him.

Just more lying for Jesus. Or at least repeating a lie.

Proverbs 13:5


The Birth of Scientific Creationism and Flood Geology

Some Christians are mistaken and think that the Young Earth Creationism as expressed by Answers in Genesis, Creation Ministries International, the Institute for Creation Research and other groups is as old as the Bible itself. This is not true. The modern Young Earth Creationist (YEC) movement stems from a very different source at a very different time.

The modern YEC movement was spawned by a vision of Ellen White (1827-1915).ellenwhite

While viciously attacked as a false prophet by some Christians, (link 1, link 2) she is lauded as the co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church established in 1863. Seventh-day Adventists believe she was inspired by God as a prophet.

“One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and was manifested in the ministry of Ellen. G. White. As the Lord’s messenger, her writings are a continuing and authoritative source of truth which provide for the church comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction.” – From “28 Fundamental Beliefs”

Modern young earth creationism can be traced back to one of White’s visions concerning the Global Flood as described in Chapter 8 of her book, “The Story of Patriarchs and Prophets.”

“The entire surface of the earth was changed at the Flood…As the waters began to subside, the hills and mountains were surrounded by a vast turbid sea. Everywhere were strewn the dead bodies of men and beasts. The Lord would not permit these to remain to decompose and pollute the air, therefore He made of the earth a vast burial ground. A violent wind which was caused to blow for the purpose of drying up the waters, moved them with great force, in some instances even carrying away the tops of the mountains and heaping up trees, rocks, and earth above the bodies of the dead…

At this time immense forests were buried. These have since been changed to coal, forming
the extensive coal beds that now exist and yielding large quantities of oil.”

Her science denial was not based on any evidence, other than her reading of the Bible and visions.

“We need to guard continually against those books which contain sophistry in regard to geology and other branches of science… [T]hey need to be carefully sifted from every trace of infidel suggestions… It is a mistake to put into the hands of the youth books that perplex and confuse them.”

Her vision of the flood got widely dispersed due to the work of Seventh-day Adventist George McCready Price (1870 -1963). GeorgeMcCreadyPricePrice took the words of his prophetess seriously.

“Geology cannot tell us the age of such fossils; only the Bible can.” – George McCready Price

McCready first knew of a young earth, then set out to prove it. He taught himself geology in order to refute evolution and the current findings of geology. In 1902 he self published a booklet called “Outline of Modern Science and Modern Christianity,” where he laid out his “Flood Geology” arguments. In 1906 he produced another book titled, “Illogical Geology: The Weakest Point in the Evolution Theory.”

Price’s ideas were never taken seriously by practicing geologists. However, during the time of Price’s anti-science propaganda publishing, the Christian Fundamentalism movement was emerging and had found a an enemy with Evolution. The fundamentalists started to embrace Price’s work as it’s flood geology also targeted evolution. Even though many of the Fundamentalist had no problem with an old earth or non-literal interpretation of Genesis, the ammunition provided by Price’s flood geology brought the two camps together.

According to The Creationists: The Evolution of Scientific Creationism,

“In the 1930s a group of mostly Seventh Day Adventists founded the Deluge Geological Society (DGS) while in the 1940s a second group, mostly Baptists associated with Wheaton College, founded the American Scientific Affiliation (ASA). The ASA focused on the interplay of Christianity and science whereas the DGS sought to bring interpretations of the geological record into accord with a strict Biblical interpretation.

The ASA and DGS merged briefly in the 1940s but ultimately split largely after a talk given by a young ASA member, J. Lawrence Kulp. Kulp studied C14 dating methods with Urey at Chicago and then set up the second C14 lab in the country at Columbia University. On the basis of emerging C14 results, Kulp told the combined group in 1949 that there was no escaping an interpretation of great antiquity for the human race. The result was a permanent rift. In the 1950s Ph.D. hydrologist and fundamentalist, Henry M. Morris, and broadly educated seminarian and Bible teacher, John C. Whitcomb, Jr., joined forces. They updated many of the ideas of George McCready Price’s New Geology (1923) to produce The Genesis Flood (Whitcomb and Morris, 1961). Morris believed the ASA “was too permeated with evolution ever to be reclaimed.” He and eight like-minded individuals, including Ph.D. biologist Duane Gish, met in 1961 with the purpose of founding a new group based on the philosophy and ideas of the book. Out of this nucleus came the Creation Research Society (CRS) in 1963 and the scientific creationist movement.

Largely under the influence of Morris and Gish, the CRS has grown into a national and international network of organizations with links to the parent Institute for Creation Research (ICR).”

While the above does not account for the entire history of Creation “science” it does give a brief overview of its origins.

Here are some key happenings in the movement.

* 1890 – Ellen White’s visions unleashed in The Story of Patriarchs and Prophets

* 1902 – Price (self taught geologist/Seventh-day Adventist) published Outline of Modern Science and Modern Christianity

* 1906 – Price (self taught geologist/Seventh-day Adventist) published Illogical Geology: The Weakest Point in the Evolution Theory

* 1911 – Price (self taught geologist/Seventh-day Adventist) published God’s Two Books: Plain facts about evolution, geology, and the Bible

* 1923 – Price (self taught geologist/Seventh-day Adventist) published New Geology

* 1924 – Yale geologist Schuchert’s review of The New Geology for the magazine Science stated that Price was “harboring a geological nightmare”

* March 21, 1925 – The Butler Act (Tennessee Anti-Evolution Act, better known as the Tennessee Monkey Law) passed into Tennessee law prohibiting public school teachers from denying the Biblical account of man‘s origin. Named after John W. Butler (A Democrat farmer and great admirer of Christian Fundamentalist, William Jennings Bryan) who stated later, “I didn’t know anything about evolution… I’d read in the papers that boys and girls were coming home from school and telling their fathers and mothers that the Bible was all nonsense.”and “I never had any idea my bill would make a fuss. I just thought it would become a law, and that everybody would abide by it and that we wouldn’t hear any more of evolution in Tennessee.”

* May 5, 1925 –  (self taught geologist/Seventh-day Adventist) George Price’s crazy geology was popularized during the Scopes Trial . A Tennessee high school science teacher, agreed to be tried for violating the Butler Act. Scopes, who had substituted for the regular biology teacher, was charged on May 5, 1925, with teaching evolution from a chapter in Civic Biology, a textbook by George William Hunter, that described the theory of evolution, race and eugenics. The case was prosecuted by Christian Fundamentalist, Democrat, prohibitionist, William Jennings Bryan (not a scientist) he used arguments heavily from George Price’s works. Even though Bryan “not only read the Mosaic “days” as geological “ages” but allowed for the possibility of organic evolution—so long as it did not impinge on the supernatural origin of Adam and Eve.” He wasn’t a Young Earth Creationist. Bryan had appealed to Price for assistance, but Price was busy teaching in England. Price advised Bryan to avoid science during the trial if possible. During the trial, defense counsel Clarence Darrow, sneered “You mentioned Price because he is the only human being in the world so far as you know that signs his name as a geologist that believes like you do . . . every scientist in this country knows [he] is a mountebank and a pretender and not a geologist at all.”

*1941 – University-trained conservative evangelical scientists founded the American Scientific Affiliation (ASA) “flood geologists” thought this society would provide a receptive forum for their conclusions. It did not.

*1951 – Ken Ham is born.

* 1961 – Whitcomb (Theologian) and Morris (Civil Engineer) publish The Genesis Flood. (an updating of (self taught geologist/Seventh-day Adventist) Price’s work)

* 1969 – The ASA Journal published a highly critical commentary of The Genesis Flood by J. R. van der Fliert, a Dutch Reformed geologist at the Free University of Amsterdam, who called Whitcomb and Morris “pseudo-scientific” pretenders.

* May 18, 1967 – Butler Act repealed in Tennessee after 42 years of science censorship in the state.

* 1970 – Morris co-founded the Christian Heritage College (now San Diego Christian College) with Tim F. LaHaye co-author of the fictional Left Behind series of books.  The college was a place where studies could be developed within the framework of creationism based on the Genesis creation narrative. Graduate of note: Carrie Prejean (Miss USA runner up and sex tape scandal victim)

* 1972 – Institute for Creation Research (ICR) is spawned from the Christian Heritage College over an organizational split.

* 1974 – Ken Ham became influenced by John C. Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris‘s The Genesis Flood in 1974 during college.

* 1976 – Carl Wieland (a medical doctor) formed the Creation Science Association (CSA), a South Australian creationist organization.

* 1978 – Evolution: The Fossils Say No! published by Duane Gish of ICR and of “Gish Gallup” fame.

* 1979 – Ken Ham quit teaching highschool and co-founded Creation Science Educational Media Services (CSEMS) with John Mackay.

* 1980 – Carl Wieland’s Creation Science Association (CSA) merges with Ham’s Creation Science Educational Media Services (CSEMS) to become the Creation Science Foundation (CSF)

* 1981 – ICR Graduate School opened for business. Here are some graduates:

  • Dave Jolly is an administrator with Ken Ham’s Answers in Genesis
  • Dave and Mary Jo Nutting have formed a creationist ministry the “Alpha-Omega Institute”
  • Paul Anders, went on to get an M.Div. in the theological field and is teaching at Trinity Seminary
  • John Whitmore (Geology) teaching at Christian College
  • Lindy Lu Swanson teaching at Christian College
  • Pierre Willems teaching at Christian College
  • David Hillaker teaching at Christian College
  • John Rajca is Curator of the ICR Museum of Creation and Earth History
  • Bill Hoesch is on the ICR Geology Department staff
  • Debbie Brooks working for ICR
  • John Arend working for ICR
  • Cliff Paiva ICRGS says “had a distinguished career in scientific military research” but it seems he is now a conspiracy theorist ( working on 9/11 conspiracies and serpents living in the SF bay.
  • Dr. Sharon Cargo is a practicing veterinarian
  • Mark Armitage is working for ICR
  • SEEMS all graduates don’t apply their education to any real world job.

* 1984 – Morris, in his 1984 book History of Modern Creationism, spoke glowingly of George Price’s logic and writing style, and referred to reading The New Geology as “a life-changing experience for me”

* 1987 – John Mackay accused Margaret Buchanan, then Ken Ham’s personal secretary, of being a demonically possessed practitioner of witchcraft attempting to undermine the Australian organization and Mackay, as well as of practicing necrophilia. John Mackay departs Creation Science Foundation (CSF) and later founds another organization called Creation Research (CR).

* 1987 – Ken Ham was seconded by CSF to work for the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) in the US

* 1988 – Creation Science Foundation changes into Answers in Genesis.

* 1994 – Ken Ham left ICR to found Creation Science Ministry (CSM) which then became Answers In Genesis-USA!

* later 1994 – Creation Science Foundation (CSF) changes name to Answers in Genesis (AiG)

* 2006 – Answers in Genesis (AiG) split up. The US and UK branches retained the AiG name and control of the AiG website under Ham’s leadership. The Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, and South African branches rebranded themselves as Creation Ministries International (CMI), under the leadership of Carl Wieland.

* 2009 – Dispute between AIG and CSI has been settled.

Funny fact: “CMI publishes Alien Intrusion, UFOs and the Evolution Connection, the author of which was featured on Coast to Coast AM. The description of the interviews says that “aliens are actually fallen angels who are not extraterrestrial in nature, but rather inter-dimensional. … He noted that some people had been able to stop alien abductions from taking place … by invoking the name of Christ. He suggested that this lends credence to the idea that the aliens are demonic in nature, and thus susceptible to invocations that run counter to them.” –


Misrepresenting Mary Schweitzer

In 2005 paleontologist Mary Schweitzer lead a team that discovered the remains of blood cells in dinosaur fossils and later discovered soft tissue remains in the Tyrannosaurus rex specimen MOR 1125.

Schweitzer was the first researcher to identify and isolate soft tissues from a 68 million year old fossil bone. Prior to Schweitzer’s discovery, the oldest soft tissue recovered from a fossil was less than one million years old.

Schweitzer’s research has been misrepresented by young earth creationists, who claim that dinosaur soft tissue couldn’t survive millions of years. They assert her discoveries support their literal interpretation of Genesis and calculations of the age of the earth by a Church of Ireland Archbishop, James Ussher, who calculated the age of the earth in 1650 based on literal interpretations of the bible using character ages and lineages. (Such as Noah living to be 900 years old). Woohoo.
Schweitzer doesn’t seem to approve as evidenced in her interview with in 2014:
One thing that does bother me, though, is that young earth creationists take my research and use it for their own message, and I think they are misleading people about it. Pastors and evangelists, who are in a position of leadership, are doubly responsible for checking facts and getting things right, but they have misquoted me and misrepresented the data.
On October 13, 2006, Young Earth Creationist and AM radio talk show host Bob Enyart called paleontologist Jack Horner about testing the soft tissue fossil for carbon 14. Enyart had people willing to write a grant to Horner in the amount of $20,000 just for permission to have the fossil tested for Carbon-14.
Horner didn’t refuse, but tried to explain that Carbon-14 dating doesn’t work on something like this. He then says he will talk to Mary about it. Bob Enyart says he will call back to find out what the determination is… but then it ends. We’ve yet to find anything about whether Enyart has called back. What the following conversations were like or if they even happened. Yet the Young Earth Creationist crowd upholds this YouTube video as a staunch rejection of the attempt even though no rejection was made.
Did Enyart call back? If so, why didn’t he post the contents of that conversation?
Mary did further work on how the soft tissue could have survived so long and discovered that Iron acted as a preservative.
A role for iron and oxygen chemistry in preserving soft tissues, cells and molecules from deep time

Even Answers In Genesis ( a creationist nuthouse) applauds her findings (while not necessarily agreeing with them):
Mary Schweitzer should be applauded for her team’s excellent detective work zooming in on that explanation. They deduced from observing iron’s ubiquitous presence in dinosaur soft tissue that iron might be a preservative. They determined, based on the observable biochemical behavior of iron, possible mechanisms showing how iron’s chemical behavior in life and death may enable it to function as a preservative. And most significantly Schweitzer’s team developed experimental support for the efficacy of iron as a postmortem preservative.