OEC vs. YEC

As you have probably noticed, I haven’t been blogging lately. This is because ever since the semester ended I’ve been gradually slogging through all of the annoying little work-related tasks that have been put on the back-burner for the last six weeks or so. And since many of these tasks entail many hours spent in front of the computer, I haven’t been in the mood to spend still more time in that position by blogging.

I have, however, found time to get some reading done, so how about I start unloading some book reviews? We shall begin with light fare. I just finished reading an amusing little young-Earth tome called Old Earth Creationism on Trial: The Verdict is In. It’s authors are Tm Chaffey and Jason Lisle. Chaffey runs a ministry in Wisconsin, while Lisle holds a PhD in astrophysics from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Here’s Lisle and Chaffey extolling the virtues of honest debate and fairly considering all sides of an issue:

Since this is such an important debate, suggestions for improving the debate are provided for both sides. God will be honored when both “old-earthers” and “young-Earthers” engage in honest debate rather than resorting to misrepresentation, ambiguity, straw-man arguments, and caustic language. (pp. 10-11)

That’s YEC for you. It’s all about the honesty and calm deliberation. Here’s an example of Chaffey and Lisle putting their attitudes into practice:

Why would anyone assume that the universe started with no size as a singularity? The answer is that secular scientists want to avoid a supernatural origin at all costs. Clearly, the creation of a large universe from nothing would require an act of God. Nothing large could ever pop into existence by itself; it would require a Creator, which is an unacceptable notion to the secular mind. However, at the very smallest level, particles seem to appear and disappear randomly. This is a very bizarre phenomenon in the field of quantum physics. Without going into details, it is sufficient to say that secular scientists hope to use what seems to be a “loophole” in physics. They hope that by pushing the problem to an infinitesimally small size it will allow them to believe in the creation of the universe from nothing without having to invoke a Divine Being. The problem for the secular scientist is that this doesn’t solve the problem, because even at very small sizes, particles do not truly come from nothing but from spacetime. (pp. 144-145)

It’s eerie. That’s just how my physics professors described it.

I guess it’s only creationist arguments that are supposed to be represented fairly.

Here’s Chaffey and Lisle on open-mindedness:

All ideas and theories should be subjected to rigorous self-examination, yet a similar self-critique is long overdue from the old-Earth creationists. (pp. 14)

Rigorous self-examination? Yes, marvelous stuff, as long as it’s only the other guys who are expected to do the examining.

Since the Bible undisputedly teaches a young earth, when someone claims that scientific evidence proves otherwise, we can be certain they are mistaken. (pp. 153)

And since this is a YEC book, there simply must be some truly jaw-dropping, face-palming, OMG they did not just say that, moments. Please forgive the long excerpt, but this one has to be savored in full (all italics in original):

The Bible must come first in our quest for knowledge; it is superior to other sources of information, including knowledge gained from the natural sciences. This must be the case because other sources of knowledge presuppose the Bible. In other words, in order for us to gain knowledge about anything in the universe through any means (including scientific analysis), we would have to already assume that the Bible is true. People do not often realize this, so let’s briefly explore this idea.

In order for science to be possible, what things must be true? What are the things that scientists assume (presuppose) before any investigation of evidence? Scientists presuppose that the universe obeys logical, rational laws, and that the human mind is able to discover and understand these laws and make predictions about how the universe will be in the future. Without these assumptions, science would be impossible. Yet, these assumptions are exactly what we would expect from the Bible. God is rational and upholds the universe in a logical, orderly fashion — which we call the “laws of nature.” And since God made our minds to be able to function in this universe (and since we are made in God’s image), it stands to reason that our minds would have he ability to discover truths about the universe.

But without the Bible, we wouldn’t have justification for these truths. This isn’t to say that unbelievers cannot do science; they can. The non-Christian also assumes a rational, orderly universe, and a rational mind that can understand the universe. But the non-Christian cannot justify these concepts within his own worldview; he cannot account for what he is doing. Science cannot be rationally used to override the plain teaching of the Bible, because the plain teaching of the Bible is required in order for science to be possible. (pp. 107-108)

The stones on these folks are simply not to be believed. Things get even better, though, when they start considering the evidence for an old Earth.

Radiometric dating?

Additionally, God cursed the earth when Adam sinned (Gen 3:17-18). The Bible provides only a few details of how the world was changed, such as thorns and thistles. Can we be certain that radioactive decay rates were not affected? (pp. 135)

The distant starlight argument?

A consistent Christian must be open to the possibility that the mechanism God used to get the starlight to earth during the creation week cannot be understood in terms of today’s “laws of nature.” (pp. 142)

The rate of cosmic expansion?

The assumption that today’s rate of expansion has always applied is the assumption of uniformitarianism. This is a particularly bad assumption in this case, because the Bible tells us that God himself stretches out, or has stretched out, the heavens. This may indicate that the bulk of this expansion was done supernaturally (using means that God does not normally use today.) (pp. 144)

Various other astronomical processes that point to an old universe?

Did you catch the unstated assumptions? The above argument assumes naturalism; it assumes that planets and moons formed by natural forces from a collapsing nebula. The possibility that God supernaturally created the planets and moons much as they appear now is not even considered. (pp. 151)

Quite a litany. You need the Bible to justify a belief that nature operates according to principles discoverable by science. But anytime science discovers things that contradict the Bible you just invoke a supernatural intervention to get around the problem. Charming folks.

I picked up this book at the International Conference of Creationism this summer, when it was recommended to me by several conference goers who saw me browsing in the bookstore. So have no illusions about whether people take this sort of thing seriously.

But for all of that, I do still have quite a bit of sympathy for their interpretation of Genesis. It sure looks to me like twenty-four hour days and a young-Earth were what the Biblical authors intended. The text itself describes the days as being bracketed by an evening and a morning, which is a very odd way of speaking if something other than twenty-four hour days were intended. The pattern of creation is referred to specifically in Exodus as the justification for keeping the Sabbath. There are several verses in the New Testament that are most easily read as confirming that humanity existed from the beginning of creation. There is also the fact that the YEC interpretation seems like exactly the sort of thing a pre-scientific mindset would come up with. The idea of a long, sprawling epic in which humanity arrives at the end of billions of years of evolution is hard for people to grasp even today. It would have been inconceivable to an ancient mindset.

Ultimately, it is very hard to believe (to put it kindly) that a writer setting out to communicate a lengthy creation process over billions of years would have written anything like what Genesis records. The arguments I have seen for an old-Earth interpretation just aren’t very good. Often they involve pawing through the Bible desperately looking for verses that will excuse a tortured interpretation of something in Genesis. (For example, the verse in Psalms that talks about how to God one day is like a thousand years.) Or they involve assertions that are not true, like the idea that the events of Day Six recorded in Genesis Two would have required more than twenty-four hours. I think many of Chaffey and Lisle’s arguments on this subject are pretty good.

The bottom line is that the age of the Earth is the least of the problems facing any reconciliation of science with Genesis. If you accept what modern science is telling us, then absolutely nothing like what Genesis describes is true.

Given this, your can choose to discard modern science, as the YEC’s do. You can turn the creation account into a giant allegory with no historical content at all, which is very difficult to justify exegetically.

Or you can take the most sensible approach. That’s where you recognize that the Bible (more specifically the Torah) is not inerrant, and it is not the word of God. It is an anthology of ancient documents that record the different traditions of separate Jewish tribes. It features numerous additions and alterations that reflect the changing political needs of the Jewish leaders over time. The creation story in Genesis 1, for example, was almost certainly added relatively late in the composition of the Biblical documents, as a way of stressing to the Jewish people the importance of keeping the Sabbath (which, after all, was one of the main things that distinguished the Jews from other tribes of the time.)

But what you can not do, at least not reasonably, is argue that the intent of the Biblical authors was to communicate a story that is even remotely like what modern science tells us. It just ain’t so.

So there you go. I’ve read some decent books recently too, but we will save those for anoher post. How about we end on a non-contentious note, by enjoying yet another example of stunning creationist idiocy:

If naturalism were true, it would be impossible to prove anything. Proofs involve use of the laws of logic, such as the law of non-contradiction, which says that you can’t have A, and not-A at the same time and in the same relationship. The laws of logic are not part of nature. They are not part of the physical universe. So, if nature ( the physical universe) is all that exists and if laws of logic are not part of nature, then they can’t exist. But they are required for rational reasoning. So, the naturalist view is actually self-refuting. So the naturalist view is actually self-refuting. If it were true, it would be impossible to reason. Yet naturalism is what secular scientists use as the foundation for their thinking. We will show why this explains many of the incorrect conclusions drawn by secular scientists, such as evolution and an old Earth. (pp. 118-119).

Zing! Take that naturalists! Looks like you all need a couple of creationists to school you on the nature of clear thinking.

Comments

  1. #1 Bob O'H
    December 22, 2008

    OMG. What did they do, trawl through Uncommon Descent to cut and paste? I’m sure I’ve read that last quote at UD. Several times.

  2. #2 Miguel
    December 22, 2008

    You’re a real glutton for punishment. I’m still trying to recover from the dumnitude of just the sections you quoted. (in fakt, i think i ma hav suferd parshal brane damij.)

  3. #3 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    December 22, 2008

    The last paragraph; I had to read it a few times and I still don’t know what they are trying to say.

    “If God hadn’t said ‘Let there be logic!’ then this sentence would be impossible. Therefore, God said ‘Let there be logic.'”

    It must be one of the lost verses of Genesis.

  4. #4 SLC
    December 22, 2008

    while Lisle holds a PhD in astrophysics from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

    It’s at least nice to know that my Alma Mater, U.C. Berkeley, isn’t the only graduate school to award PhDs to nutcases(e.g. Jonathan Wells and Duane Gish).

  5. #5 Sam C
    December 22, 2008

    This sort of nonsense demonstrates just how thin the veneer of rationality is in our minds. The authors of the extracts are clearly literate, can arrange their “facts”, can construct an “argument”, but the result is garbage. Yes, the facts aren’t facts and the arguments are logically invalid, but this isn’t frothy-mouthed dimwits screaming on a street corner, this is otherwise intelligent people mustering a superficially plausible (to the right audience!) for what they believe to be be true.

    It is important for us rational folk to appreciate just how weak the pull of rationality is for many people. And, indeed, to understand that actually we ourselves don’t use reasoning skills most of the time. When we read these extracts and burst out laughing, it’s because we recognise idiotic creationist drivel on an emotional level (by pattern recognition) long before we start reasoning “well, this argument is rubbish because this fact is false, that one is a non sequitur” and so on.

  6. #6 Collin Brendemuehl
    December 22, 2008

    Jason,

    This is a real concern:
    Given this, your can choose to discard modern science, as the YEC’s do. You can turn the creation account into a giant allegory with no historical content at all, which is very difficult to justify exegetically.

    Or you can take the most sensible approach. That’s where you recognize that the Bible (more specifically the Torah) is not inerrant, and it is not the word of God.

    This is a simple b&w fallacy, assuming that there are only two options available. You will find in church history that theology develops in the face of criticism. Because of the current concerns in this field we can expect that the grammatical-historical approach will (no, is) seeking an alternative to the word-centered approach to Genesis 1-2. The passage can be viewed as a summary of creation, with creation being framed by the concept of days in order to communicate that there was creation, and to express God’s intentions. Not allegory, not so word-centric. And not anti-science. Questions will still remain, but they will be less significant in terms of interpretation and the foundations of orthodoxy.

    After all, the broader evolutionary model is still equally imperfect and inadequate.

  7. #7 D. C. Sessions
    December 22, 2008

    What continues to amaze me is the YECs’ utter lack of confidence in their own machina ex deus — they invoke supernatural overrides of the “orderly universe” hypothesis on every page while setting themselves up for still more “oops, we looked and it doesn’t check out” embarrassment.

    Meanwhile, they don’t use the classic “science can’t disprove ex nihilo creation” argument that a Deity capable of creating the entire universe could just have readily have created it 6000 years ago complete with all evidence of prior creation.

    Game Over, Dude. Assume that one (however wide you have to open your throat) and there’s no effective counter possible, and you don’t have to flaunt William of Ockham every other paragraph.

  8. #8 kemibe
    December 22, 2008

    On the subject of the intended meanings of “day” and “year” in Genesis, please allow me to quote myself:

    Most people know that the Bible (in the eyes of those who view it as truth rather than parable) wastes no time in breaking out the nuts, explaining in the first verses that the universe was created in six days. Cosmologists, operating from a somewhat less apocalyptic tradition, place the age of the universe at 13.7 billion years and the age of the earth at around five billion years. While 6 and 5,000,000,000 are not especially close in numerical value, if you cheat a little and round up scientists’ estimate to six billion, you have a neat scheme in which the Bible is off by about exactly a factor of a billion, which could only happen if it were actually dead on. So, Christians merrily claim, one “day” as described in the Bible actually represents a billion or so years on the nose.

    Let’s pretend this isn’t just ad hoc claptrap designed to rescue the beliefs of innerrantists from their rightful grave. Eve though the rest of the Bible contains passages that clearly indicate that the authors of scripture understood well what a day was, and what a year was, and used calendars to keep track of such quantities and to mark historical events (the most significant of which didn’t, well, happen), let’s just assume that a God day is a billion Earth years. We’re good to go.

    But then we quickly run into a different problem. We read of all of these amazing mens with some sort of (apparently familiar) disorder that causes them to live more than ten times long as people in industrialized societies do today. Genesis 5:5 doesn’t mess around:

    And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.

    So Adam lived to be 930 — this despite the earlier assurance (Gen. 2:17) that he would die on the very day he ate the forbidden fruit, which turned out to be off by, you guessed it, 930 years. Several other men are noted to have lived absurdly long life spans as well.

    What do inerrantists say about this? Well many things, all of which are naturally mindless. Either wildly different calendars were used to track in the days of Adam, or people simply had access to better health and dental plans in days of yore. Whatever the excuse, it’s clear that a year, in Edenspeak, is much closer to a month in astronomical time.

    But now look at what’s on the table. We’ve already decided that when the Bible says “day” it really means “billion years,” at least in this chapter, or portion of a chapter. This would make a Biblical year — 365 1/4 days, for those keeping track — equivalent to 365.25 billion astronomical years. And Adam, therefore, would have lived to a robust age of almost 340 trillion years! Given that Strom Thurmond was a racist senator for only half that long, I am not buying it.

    (The whole thing)

  9. #9 mark
    December 22, 2008

    As kids in school, we laughed when told how Xerxes, king of Persia, ordered the sea (the Hellespont) to be flogged because of a military failure (his bridge across it had burnt down). Those silly heathens!

    Now we are reminded that God cursed the Earth because Eve mad Adam sin, and this curse may have affected radioactive decay rates. These silly heathens!

  10. #10 AL
    December 22, 2008

    “If God hadn’t said ‘Let there be logic!’ then this sentence would be impossible. Therefore, God said ‘Let there be logic.'”

    Something along those lines. It’s like a chicken-egg scenario:
    God is required for logic. Premising this, we show through logic, God must exist. So, uh, which came first, God or logic?

    Of course, much of this can be resolved by acknowledging logic for what it is, a system of inference rules, rather than a “thing” out there in Platonic space where all abstract language constructs exist and were put there by God to be pulled out when He needed it, provided that the concept of “pulling out when He needed it” makes logical sense without the very logic that was pulled out.

  11. #11 Lofcaudio
    December 22, 2008

    But for all of that, I do still have quite a bit of sympathy for their interpretation of Genesis. It sure looks to me like twenty-four hour days and a young-Earth were what the Biblical authors intended.

    While I shun labels as my thoughts on this subject are still being refined (or “evolving”), I would probably best fit in the OEC/theistic evolution camp. I have the highest possible regard for the Bible while still acknowledging what can be gleaned from scientific discovery and sincerely believe that the Truth is what can be corroborated in both areas of study (theology/philosophy and science). Jason, you have expressed numerous times that this ideological stance is more flawed (and wishy-washy) than that of the outspoken YEC movement, but I obviously disagree for some of the reasons stated below.

    The text itself describes the days as being bracketed by an evening and a morning, which is a very odd way of speaking if something other than twenty-four hour days were intended.

    I fail to see how the use of the morning and evening terminology are any more indicative of a 24-hour literal yom, especially when you consider that three sets of mornings and evenings supposedly occurred before the sun was observed. How does the book you just read explain this conundrum of three 24-hour days occurring before the sun arrived on the scene?

    The pattern of creation is referred to specifically in Exodus as the justification for keeping the Sabbath.

    Pattern of creation…yes. Exodus 20:11 highlights the pattern and provides no insight into how the yom in Genesis 1 should be interpreted.

    There are several verses in the New Testament that are most easily read as confirming that humanity existed from the beginning of creation.

    I would be curious as to what these New Testament verses are as I have always been of the mindset that there is absolutely no evidence that the NT writers were YECs. In fact, the writings of the early Christian theologians show not a shred of YEC thinking. The YEC movement, along with Biblical literalism, are relatively new concepts — born within the last 100 years as a reaction to the acceptance of Darwin’s theory of evolution and the ancillary view that everything can be explained through strictly natural processes.

  12. #12 llewelly
    December 22, 2008

    So, if nature ( the physical universe) is all that exists and if laws of logic are not part of nature, then they can’t exist. But they are required for rational reasoning. So, the naturalist view is actually self-refuting. So the naturalist view is actually self-refuting.

    Proof by repetition! Hooray!

  13. #13 Jason Rosenhouse
    December 22, 2008

    Colin –

    For the record, I actually listed three options. :)

  14. #14 Scott
    December 22, 2008

    I’m trying to remember my course Philosophy 101. Is Logic (and eg. Mathematics) considered part of the “natural” world? These are in essence constructs of pure thought. You can’t point at something physical called “Logic”. So, if there is no one to think them, do they exist? Could we imagine a reality in which Logic (Math) is different? Do the non-Euclidean geometries count toward that? And quantum superposition seems to make a hash of “either A or not(A)”. Can we imagine Logic being independent of any particular physical universe? Or is Logic merely a human construct born of a desire to see patterns in everyting? :-) Just musing.

  15. #15 Collin Brendemuehl
    December 22, 2008

    Jason,
    Same problem: A limited set of allowed responses.

  16. #16 Jerry Billings
    December 22, 2008

    That tale of Adam being cursed because he disobeyed his god is sillier that it looks at first blush. Remember that Adam’s god apparently was having a conversation with some other gods when he remarked in essence that, Now Adam knows the difference between right and wrong. If Adam didn’t know the difference before Eve had that fateful conversation with the talking snake he could not have known that it was wrong to disobey his god.
    Logic has no place in the lives of biblical literists.

  17. #17 mark
    December 22, 2008

    The world was made in six days and finished on the seventh.
    According to the contract, it should have been the eleventh;
    But the painters wouldn’t paint and the workers wouldn’t work,
    So the quickest thing to do was fill it in with dirt.

  18. #18 Peter Henderson
    December 22, 2008

    Well Jason, at least you’re not having a go at TE’s this time (i.e. people who hold a faith position and yet accept mainstream science.)

    I would assume this is primarily an attack by AiG on Hugh Ross and Reasons to believe Ministries ? AiG does not like Ross at all. Still, OECs are very much in the minority in evangelical circles.

    I was wondering when you were going to get around to Lisle. I’ve watched Lisle many times on TV (his talks are available on AiG’s website) and I just find the guy baffling. Of all the sciences that confirm an ancient Universe, astronomy/cosmology is the most compelling. Yet, Lisle just dismisses all the evidence (despite holding a PhD in the subject). He witters on about gravitational time dilation as the most logical explanation for the distant starlight problem (not a very good argument for an ancient Universe, according to lisle)

    No mention by the way, of the cosmic microwave background radiation (I’ve yet to read an explanation of this on AiG’s website) or how they explain away impact craters (another indication of a very old solar system)

    This review of Jason Lisle’s visit to Tucson by Christopher Sharp may be of interest:

    http://www.csharp.com/lisle.html

  19. #19 reindeersanta386sx
    December 22, 2008

    The passage can be viewed as a summary of creation, with creation being framed by the concept of days in order to communicate that there was creation, and to express God’s intentions.

    Why is it that God never has anything to do with deciding what God’s intentions were.

    After all, the broader evolutionary model is still equally imperfect and inadequate.

    That’s funny, because people use “the broader evolutionary model” to figure out what God’s intentions were. I guess people can use pretty much whatever they want. That’s why they call it religion, I guess.

  20. #20 Raymond Minton
    December 22, 2008

    Since it can be demonstrated quite easily that life on earth had a perfectly natural, chemical origin, and thousands of laboratories across the world have determined that the earth is billions of years old, it is up to Lisle and Chaffey to prove the alternative hypothesis-that the world is young and was created supernaturally. They have singularly failed to do so, which means their doctrine is certainly not science.

  21. #21 Jason Rosenhouse
    December 23, 2008

    Peter –

    Thanks for the link. Prior to reading this book, I knew of Lisle only as the person who designed the planetarium show at the Creation Museum. What astonishes me about people like Lisle is how amateurish their writing is. Whatever his beliefs, this is someone who spent several years in a strong PhD program studying with actual scientists. That such a person could write paragraphs like the one about the Big Bang cited above is extraordinary to me.

    As for the TE’s, I’ll have a go at them some other time!

  22. #22 SLC
    December 23, 2008

    Re Peter Henderson

    Relative to the gravitational time dilation hypothesis which AFAIK was first proposed by one Russell Humphreys, the proponents of this fail to explain why a severe blue shift in light is not observed, which would be the consequence of the earth being in the presence of gravitational fields strong enough to dilate time by factors of several hundred thousand.

  23. #23 Brenda Tucker
    December 23, 2008

    Along the same lines that you are discussing: whether or not logic and its laws are part of the natural universe, I would like to share with you a position by Michael Eaglemeare in which he states “For example, the intelligence and spiritual reality of a Master is not made of thought.”

    I was actually stunned to hear that as I had never considered this idea before. (Master referring to, in my mind, a human who has access at times to a girasas.)

    It makes sense though when we consider that a world is made up of seven kingdoms, given theosophically as: 1st elemental or thought, 2nd elemental or emotion, 3rd elemental or etheric forms, mineral, plant, animal, human. Of course humans use thoughts as they are elments of the kingdoms which we grew from and building blocks for our world as are all the kingdoms.

    When we leave the human kingdom and enter the girasas kingdom, it is possible that we will be at the bottom of the totem pole again and that we shall be matter or form that comprises the lives of all those six kingdoms that are higher than ours. Learning how humans and girasas are different and how one grows into the other should be of paramount interest to scientists of today.

  24. #24 Brenda Tucker
    December 23, 2008

    On a side note regarding worshiping on the 7th day as stemming from Genesis, I can’t help wondering how we might some day solve the difficulty of how to worship if a girasas is inside of us and not above us? I suppose there shouldn’t be any problem if the worship is of God and not of this advanced kingdom because both kingdoms could turn together towards God, but when you walk around with an associate of this nature every day and every moment are aware that all we have to do is ask them and they will respond to us, recognizing God in the “equation” is more like trying to get God to even the sides so that we can be more equally matched to this partner of ours and I don’t know why the girasas would want to do that with us. They would want to stay superior.

    I am hoping there might be something more along the order of training sessions designed to test how “powers” are uncovered for our use, individually and within a test sample. And sessions that could treat various uncomfortable or inadequate “composites” of the two kingdoms in a way that breaks them apart and resets them.

  25. #25 SLC
    December 23, 2008

    If one wants to get technical here, a “day” at the time when the Hebrew Bible was written was actually slightly shorter then it is at present, due to the tidal effects of the Moon and to a lesser extent to those of the Sun. In the distant future, it will be longer yet, eventually being as long as a month, which itself will be longer then at present due to the recession of the moon.

  26. #26 Explicit Atheist
    December 23, 2008

    Posted by: Lofcaudio

    “I fail to see how the use of the morning and evening terminology are any more indicative of a 24-hour literal yom, especially when you consider that three sets of mornings and evenings supposedly occurred before the sun was observed. How does the book you just read explain this conundrum of three 24-hour days occurring before the sun arrived on the scene?”

    The authors of Genesis thought of morning light and evening darkness as phenomena ordered by God, not as the product of the Sun star or of stars in general.

  27. #27 Olorin
    December 23, 2008

    “You can turn the creation account into a giant allegory with no historical content at all, which is very difficult to justify exegetically.

    WRONG.

    “But what you can not do, at least not reasonably, is argue that the intent of the Biblical authors was to communicate a story that is even remotely like what modern science tells us. It just ain’t so.”

    RIGHT.

    If the Babylonian-exile authors of Genesis 1 and the earlier pastoralists who wrote Genesis 2 could hear modern literalists, they would shake their heads in despair at the naivete after 3,000 years of so-called progress. The authors well understood the theological points that fly over the heads of the modern literalists. All is explained in a wonderful little (193 pp) tome by Conrad Hyers, head of the Religion Department of Gustavus Adolphus College: “The Meaning of Creation: Genesis and Modern Science” ( Johm Knoxc Press, 1984). There is a short summary on-line, “Comparing Biblical and Scientific Maps of Origins,” at http://www.directionjournal.org/article/?1031. Briefly, literalists commit the whiggism fallacy, reading Genesis without any of its context, as though it had been written by a modern Western author.

  28. #28 Reynold
    December 24, 2008

    Oh crap, that “presuppositionalist logic” nonsense again. It’s depressing to see that it’s more widespread than I thought it was. I thought it was only the occasional intellectually-lazy idiot who used it.

    If you really want to see some messed-up examples, check out the comments by poster Sye TenB here. There’s over 1050 comments there.

    He’s also posted on Stephen Law’s blog. Stephen Law is a philosopher himself.

    An interesting posts is final countdown

    Hi Sye

    You said:

    Nope, that is not the argument. Again, it is like this:

    1. God is the necessary precondition for logic (by the impossiblity of the contrary).
    2. Logic exists
    3. Therefore God exists.

    All that anyone would have to do to refute me is to demonstrate how the universal, abstract, invariant laws of logic can exist without God. You folks are going on and on about the format, why not offer your refutation?

    Some examples from the first link:
    One
    “You’ve yet to validate your assertion.”

    Sure I have, you just don’t like my validations. God is the necessary precondition for logic by the impossibility of the contrary.

    Two

    Three
    Dave W. said: “Which is, of course, what Sye is doing here. I doubt he’s ever going to tell me the basis for his logic.”

    Well, I have, you just don’t happen to like my basis. Logic is derived from, and has its origins in, the mind of God.

  29. #29 Neil B ?
    December 24, 2008

    Chaffey and Lisle really get off on a weird tangent, but they do have one point: some physicists do say the universe literally “came from nothing” (Hawking-Hartle, etc.) and not “from an existing space-time continuum”.) Of course, that wouldn’t explain why the laws are the way they are anyway, and why so “fine tuned” for life. Rather than fight straw-man kiddies like YECs, look at The Mind of God by Paul Davies about anthropic tuning, necessary and contingent existence, and other such higher-level debate about “why is there something rather than nothing, and why is it like this” – with possible contingency for it on “something else”, even if maybe not “Jehovah” like in nature.

    BTW I believe in “anthropic design” about the laws themselves, and ADers don’t even want any”One” meddling in the universe once in existence to get life etc as per ID, since that would spoil the cleverness of it being set up so well for such things to happen on their own. Not sarcastic, but really.

  30. #30 Collin Brendemuehl
    December 25, 2008

    reindeersanta386sx,
    Why is it that God never has anything to do with deciding what God’s intentions were.

    Jason doing a theology post is as absurd as my attempting a thorough discussion of abstract math.
    Your question relates to the topic of revelation. Check out VanTil’s Systematic Theology and Christian Apologetics for the answers.

    That’s funny, because people use “the broader evolutionary model” to figure out what God’s intentions were. I guess people can use pretty much whatever they want. That’s why they call it religion, I guess.

    There is more than one way to view the data. There have been a good number of evolutionistsm, even current ones, scolded for their misuse of the evidence. And some who ought to be.

  31. #31 386sx
    December 26, 2008

    Your question relates to the topic of revelation. Check out VanTil’s Systematic Theology and Christian Apologetics for the answers.

    Ome time I asked VanTill how come God doesn’t keep writing the Bible. How come the Bible is so old and there aren’t more chapters being written? How come the Bible is only old stuff?

    His answer was that I was wrong and that the Bible is still being written every single day in history.

    Then I asked him if he worshiped the old Bible as much as he worships the one that is still being written. Does he quote the newer modern day scriptures with as much reverence as he quotes the older scriptures?

    He didn’t answer me. I guess the question was a silly one, not worthy of an answer. :P

  32. #32 386sx
    December 26, 2008

    Sorry about that, Collin. I thought you were talking about another Van Till. (You were talking about Cornelius Van Til, I think.) No, I’m not going to Check out VanTil’s Systematic Theology and Christian Apologetics for the answers. God is not Cornelius Van Til.

  33. #33 Modusoperandi
    December 26, 2008

    Raymond Minton “…it is up to Lisle and Chaffey to prove the alternative hypothesis-that the world is young and was created supernaturally. They have singularly failed to do so, which means their doctrine is certainly not science.”
    They did! Magic, magic, rocks, magic, Fall (magic), stuff happened, magic, Deluge (magic), magic, Israelites, stuff happened, magic, Jesus, Saul, Paul (magic), Acts (magic), etc.
    It all makes sense once you believe that God made Man in His image (rational), He made a rational, logical universe, and that He chose to make the latter in a way that confounds the rational character (from Him) that He put in the former. It’s scientifical!

  34. #34 jimC
    December 27, 2008

    Jason doing a theology post is as absurd as my attempting a thorough discussion of abstract math.
    Your question relates to the topic of revelation. Check out VanTil’s Systematic Theology and Christian Apologetics for the answers.

    Not it isn’t, theology requires nothing but an ability to bullshit and pontificate on things you can’t even possibly know. That being said it has some philosophy internally but has so many ‘roots’ anyone can discuss it. Now attempting to do abstract math requires some actual knowledge.

    Oh and VanTil’s apologetics are an interesting read but just one of many and frankly won’t provide many actual ‘answers’ just his opinions.

    After all, the broader evolutionary model is still equally imperfect and inadequate.

    Not inadequate and gaining more and more evidence each passing year. As if it needed it.

  35. #35 Troublesome Frog
    December 27, 2008

    Reynold:

    Sure I have, you just don’t like my validations. God is the necessary precondition for logic by the impossibility of the contrary.

    I’m struggling to pick my jaw up off of the floor.

  36. #36 Tyler DiPietro
    December 27, 2008

    “After all, the broader evolutionary model is still equally imperfect and inadequate.”

    “Inadequate” for what?

    “There is more than one way to view the data.”

    True, but those “ways” aren’t completely arbitrary. Data has to be seen within a framework that is potentially testable, if it doesn’t meet this condition then it isn’t science but rather pseudoscience (see: astrology, Freudian psychoanalysis, etc.).

  37. #37 Tyler DiPietro
    December 27, 2008

    “I’m struggling to pick my jaw up off of the floor.”

    I am too, the idea that concepts like “true by definition” and “necessarily true given its premises” need supernatural justification is baffling.

  38. #38 Glenn Davey
    January 1, 2009

    I have almost given up writing a book on de-converting from Jehovah’s Witness to naturalist, simply because researching their publications is so mind-numbing. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone – the mental acrobatics they employ are physically painful to follow.

  39. #39 sinned34
    January 2, 2009

    Thanks for that, Jason. Last year, I was having a discussion with someone on Ray Comfort’s blog (I know, sometimes I’m a glutton for punishment) who was pretty much using those exact quotes you listed. I was finding it exceedingly frustrating when he kept insisting on using ridiculous comments, like when he stated that I couldn’t use logic as a tool for argument or understanding phenomena unless I could explain where logic “came from”.

    At least now I know where he stole those ideas from, and what the hell he was trying to get at. What a maroon!

  40. #40 Jeff
    January 2, 2009

    Re: “1. God is the necessary precondition for logic (by the impossiblity of the contrary)”

    Sam Harris provided an amusing and straight-forward refutation of this kind of definitional hand-waving in an online debate in 2007. I think it went like this:
    The martzipan at the center of the sun is, by definition, at the center of the sun. Therefore, you must concede that there’s martipan at the center of the sun.” QED

    Of course it’s the same as saying, “I define X as being true. Therefore, BY DEFINITION, X is true.”

  41. #41 jt99
    March 19, 2009

    Is G-Theory the answer?
    Young Earth creationists bring the Bible into scientific disrepute, as did religious leaders in the days of Galileo. No wonder they are ridiculed.

    But take a look at TheDarwinDelusion.com which claims to corrects the misconceptions of both crazy creationists and evolutionists. It revisits the neglected G-Theory teachings of William Buckland, Oxford University’s very first professor of geology, that easily reconcile Genesis and Science.

  42. #42 Derek
    October 3, 2010

    Just thought I would point out — part of the big bang hypothesis is something called ‘quantum fluctuation’, which is derived from the ‘uncertainty principle’.

    Basically, it means they don’t know what exactly happened and are having a very difficult time.

    I offer one book of Job:

    Job 38:4
    Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.

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