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Who doubts common descent? You’d be surprised

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Here at Uncommon Descent, a longish combox discussion started recently – which spread here after I reposted some of my own comments at the Post-Darwinist – on whether the intelligent design guys would gain or lose credibility if they kicked out the young earth creationists (YECs, the folk who believe that the Bible teaches that the earth was created in 144 hours and therefore it must be true).

My own view is that it is politically astonishingly naive to think that the intelligent design-friendly scientists who accept universal common descent would gain anything by starting a big fight with:

(1) a lay young earth creation ministry like Answers in Genesis (which says negative things about ID from time to time)


(2) an astronomer-run old earth creation ministry like Hugh Ross’s Reasons to Believe (which also says negative things about ID from time to time),

let alone

(3) those YECs such as Paul Nelson who choose to work with the ID folk who accept conventional age of the earth and common ancestry.

Basically, anyone who adopts a non-materialist stance of any type on anything will be persecuted by the materialists dominant in science and public policy today. That’s just a fact. Non-materialists who squabble among themselves waste time that could be going into developing their own positions more fully. This is a matter of political common sense and actually has nothing to do with the legitimacy or usefulness of YEC ideas.

In my book, By Design or by Chance?, I took a couple of chapters to examine, in a neutral way, the origin of young earth creationism – where and how did it originate and who does it appeal to?

As a movement among American Protestants, YEC originated in the early 1960s. (Note: William Jennings Bryant of Scopes trial fame – the real trial, not the Inherit the Wind movie – was an old earth creationist like astronomer Hugh Ross.)

I personally view young earth creationism as an attempt to confront the growing impact of materialism by adopting literalist Bible interpretation. I don’t think it’s true and I don’t think it works. Beyond that, I don’t think literalism is the best way to understand the Bible. I have been criticized by YECs for my views and also by self-proclaimed Christians in science who think that I should have ridiculed YECs – as if that was going to help me or my readers understand them better.

That said, the real issues are far more complex than many people realize anyway. Paul Nelson, that YEC biologist who does work with the ID guys, wrote to me yesterday, offering a quiz of sorts, by way of illustrating the complexity:

Quick! Who said this?

1. “The phenomenon of a monophyletic origin for the universal Tree of Life probably did not occur…At the macro-scale life appears to have had many origins.”


2. “Darwin claimed that a unique inclusively hierarchical pattern of relationships between all organisms based on their similarities and differences [the Tree of Life (TOL)] was a fact of nature, for which evolution, and in particular a branching process of descent with modification, was the explanation. However, there is no independent evidence that the natural order is an inclusive hierarchy, and incorporation of prokaryotes into the TOL is especially

problematic. The only data sets from which we might construct a universal hierarchy including prokaryotes, the sequences of genes, often disagree and can seldom be proven to agree. Hierarchical structure can always be imposed on or extracted from such data sets by algorithms designed to do so, but at its base the universal TOL rests on an unproven assumption about pattern that, given what we know about process, is unlikely to be broadly true.”


Well, if these people are arguing against the proposition that all life arose from a single randomly generated cell billions of years ago, they must be raving creationist lunatics, right?

The answers, as offered by Paul Nelson

1. Malcolm Gordon, a professor of evolutionary biology at UCLA (See his 1999 paper, “The Concept of Monophyly.” for the details.)

2. W. Ford Doolittle, in his recent (2007) Inaugural Article as a foreign member of the National Academy of Sciences

Are these guys young earth creationists? Not ruddy likely. Actually, nowadays, you do not have to be a young earth creationist or any type of creationist or ID advocate to disbelieve in universal common descent from a single ancestor. Plus, he says – just to complicate the picture – most of the young ID advocates over at Telic Thoughts are “vocal advocates” of universal common descent.

The problem with multiple origins of life by chance alone is that staggering complexities face the origin of life even once. Assuming it happened a number of times without design would seem only to add to the problems faced by materialism, rather than subtracting from them.

So we live in interesting times. I think a fight between ID advocates and young earth creationists would be a sideshow compared to the growing row between materialists and non-materialists.

Here are some other stories at the Post-Darwinist:

A communist view of the intelligent design controversy? It is unlikely that Darwin’s heirs will wish to make these tributes to the master’s teachings front and centre.

ID in Italy: Italian newspapers dare to doubt Darwin?

Muslim ID advocate argues that materialism, not Christianity, is what so many Muslims hate about America

[...] Who doubts common descent? You’d be surprised | [...] Common descent | Aunoma
[...] Who doubts common descent? You’d be surprised | [...] Common descent | BlackBadgerinc
“Setterfield. Setterfield, Brown, and myself were an OECs until stumbling on the possibility of speed of light decay”. What exactly does this mean?
If the speed of light is constant over time and space, the physical evidence would almost surely force us to conclude the universe is old. If that is the case, then we have the following possibilities: 1. The Bible is not God's Word 2. The Bible is God's word, but the YEC interpretation is wrong 6 years ago, I was completely willing to accept #1 and/or #2. At this stage in my life, I do believe God is the Creator, that Behe's IC argument is most easily answered via Special Creation, and that the physical evidence suggests universe did not evolve via Big Bang Cosmology, but via special creation. My former professor James Trefil wrote the famous chapter "Why Galaxies Can't Exists" to highlight problems with Big Bang Cosmology. His partial solution was Dark Matter, but we have never touched or handled or measured Dark Matter in the lab. It's a total kluge. The better solution is special creation of the Galaxies and Stars. Now, it seems to me at best we can't make hard fast assertions about the universe being old. I tentatively think Setterfield is correct, Humphreys is wrong, and for sure Gish is wrong. I love Gish, but I can't assent to his created light arguments. Gish's hypothesis is at variance with Romans 1:20. God would make the world such that we will be forced to follow the evidence where it leads, and that eventually only certain conclusions will make sense. If Setterfield is correct, then Romans 1:20 will have been fulfilled for the laws of physics. If Romans 1:20 is followed literally, "appearce of age arguments" are actually unscriptural.... Salvador Visit his website: www.setterfield.org Salvador scordova
Jerry & DS Yes, yes, conclusions reinforcing premises. [notwithstanding Augustine's comments about faith and understanding.] IF you have the patience, and can see the Canadian TV Discovery channel indoctrinmentary "Global Warning" you will see just how far this sort of post-normal science can go. Appalling to say the least. Anyway, I'm glad I wondered "out loud" about YECism. If the discussion can proceed without typical forum rancor then the S/N ratio must be OK. As a kid my church affiliation was thick into YEC soup but never could I swallow it. I do have friends that thrive on it. I also have friends that are taken in by global warming alarmism. Yet, as a born skeptic, there would be a certain amount of "inner delight" if, in the end, I turned out to be wrong. My observation is that, often, when you get individuals out of their herd, they become more reasonable. Just look at the number of anti global warming scientists who happen to be retired! eebrom
YEC may well be ID's "baggage," but it's not ID's problem. The implications of ID's acceptance in the scientific community is the dethroning of the materialist oligarchy. The creationist label is a convenient pejorative with which to label ID proponents. Since creationism is considered Darwinism's defeated foe, it makes good sense that the NDEs want to associate the two, to avoid answering the tough questions. Casting off the YEC "millstone" will not allow ID to escape the theory's own ramifications: that there is a designing intelligence at the root of the natural world. It's this concept -- not a young earth -- that causes such a reaction in the materialist community. As far as I can tell, ID doesn't accept YEC, but rather tolerates it. As long as the implications of ID are theological, even though the theory itself is not, it's going to be the target of the anti-religeous, and is going to be stereotyped as creation. Apollos
jerry Excellent point re Darwinists and YEC alike in that they start off with faith that something is true then spin the facts to fit the faith. You're redeemed and off moderation. DaveScot
Dave: 1) All life we’ve looked at so far, prokaryotes and eukaryotes alike, employ a virtually identical genetic code as well as an organelle called the ribosome which builds proteins specified by that common code. I’ve yet to hear any explanation for this other than common descent that doesn’t sound contrived Assuming God doesn't exist that is the only explanation. Assuming, He does then of course, it's not. We know, without doubt, that natural selection, mutation, gene flow etc. influence how life develops and behaves. The question then becomes is it possible for these forces to cause a single cell to evolve into all the types of life on Earth. It's not been established and I don't see how it's possible. So that leaves either some unknown force that caused all life to evolve from a common ancestor or all life did not evolve from a common ancestor. Now, life can only come from life which leaves us with the obvious question as to where the first life came from. Obviously some unknown (in the scientific sense) force made it. If this force made it once, why not twice? Or three or four or a dozen or a hundred times, and in groups of cells, to the point where RM +NS makes starts? tribune7
"I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the militant Darwinian atheists on your side whom I affectionately refer to as Church Burnin’ Ebola Boys. My analogy, unlike yours, has some basis in reality. " --ds Fair enough, but I personally make a point to disapprove of the church-burning approach when the occasion arises and, every now and then, important folks such as Collins, Orr, etc do so as well. Despite what the impression may be from sites such as Pharyngula, these ebola boys represent only a handful of evolutionary biologists. great_ape
I think very simply the problem with the association of ID with YEC is that one is non-religious and is focused on some narrow aspects of science and has a broader philosophy of science than the current scientific community while the other has a very definite religious agenda, a much wider scientific interest and has a different much narrower philosophy of science than the current scientific community. It is this religious agenda and philosophy of science differences that drive the controversy. Like the Darwinists, the YEC science conclusions must fit a world view so in that way the Darwinists and YEC's are somewhat alike in terms of how they make scientific conclusions. For ID and YEC to walk hand in hand to defeat materialist science conclusions, it would be difficult to for these two movements to disassociate their very big differences on religion and philosophy of science. Remember it is not the materialists that ID is seeking to change but the average person who is not really aware of the details of the controversy. Right now they think ID is a religious movement with a narrow philosophy of science when it is really just the opposite. So tell me how working with the YEC's helps dispel this misconception. It doesn't. It reinforces it. jerry
I just want to point out that one can hold to "Young" Earth and "Old" Universe view, consistently. One does not contradict the other. As a matter of fact, large group of YECs subscribe to this notion. If anyone is interested in a more thoughtful article about the "days" of Creation, article may be found here: http://www.grisda.org/origins/21005.htm inunison
eebrom said: So, for example, if the word “day” is used differently in different parts of the Bible, how can literalist interpretation make any sense?
If I may answer that question with a question: how is the word "day" used in our day? How was it used in our father's day? Answering a question with a question is a rhetorical device. Are you to understand that I really want an answer to that question, or am I using the question to make a point? Does a literal interpretation of my question force you to conclude that I expect an answer, or can you literally interpret the quesiton as rhetoric? Stepping aside from rhetorical devices for a moment, I might also choose a literary device, like using the word "day" to represent a definite or indefinite period of time: "In my day, we would never dream of disrespecting our elders." The context clearly indicates an anachronism, an indefinite period of time in the past that has come to an end. I might go on to say, "That day was the worst day of my life." Even this limited context strongly indicates that I mean a literal day. Just because I also use the word in a broader literary sense does not deny the more rigid interpretation in this example, nor does it's latter use force me to interpret the previous example as a literal day. I think it's reasonable to assert that literal Bible interpretation does not prevent one from understanding, even expecting, that literary tools be used by its Author to make a point, convey depth of meaning, express emotion, elicit thought.
Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell? (Proverbs 30:4)
I think it's pretty obvious that here the reader is expected to ask himself a series of questions, chiefly, "What is God's Son's name?" We can safely assume that the Author is not seeking input from the reader. Does a literal reading of this passage demand that we attempt to answer this question, just because it is being asked? No, it is a rhetorical device of sorts, intended to evoke thought. If we are clever enough to use these devices, certainly the Author is as well.
In the beginning of the year I took a vacation to Hawaii. I went snorkeling, then to a luau. That was the first day...
Denyse There are two seemingly unassailable observations about life that strike a common descent chord. 1) All life we've looked at so far, prokaryotes and eukaryotes alike, employ a virtually identical genetic code as well as an organelle called the ribosome which builds proteins specified by that common code. I've yet to hear any explanation for this other than common descent that doesn't sound contrived although Carl Woese and a couple others have made reasonable cases for life originating possibly a few times in its earliest history then consolidating around these commonalities. 2) The law of biogenesis. Living things have been directly observed coming from another living thing literally billions of times throughout recorded history. There has been no observation of life coming from non-life. A rule with so many observations, no exceptions, and perfect predictability are promoted from from theory to law (or at least in any scientific discipline other than biology they are promoted from theory to law). Life only comes from life is a law just as much as things fall toward the center of the earth instead of falling up away from it (gravitational attraction). Alone either of these in isolation is exceedingly strong evidence for common descent but together are virtually inarguable in a scientific context IMO. DaveScot
great ape While I agree in principle with what you wrote I don't think your analogy comparing YECs to people putting bombs in puppies to blow up department stores is anywhere near apt. But as long as we're on the topic of unsavory political alliances I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the militant Darwinian atheists on your side whom I affectionately refer to as Church Burnin' Ebola Boys. My analogy, unlike yours, has some basis in reality. I could include the Columbine shooters on your side too. At any rate I guess we all have our crosses to bear in this regard but yours is a much greater burden IMO. :-) DaveScot
On the surface it would be politically counterproductive for ID to distance itself from YECs. Yet imagine imagine you are part of a hypothetical group that supports a cause you strongly believe in. Say, for instance, it's bringing much needed attention to a rare and poorly researched disease affecting children. Let's call the disease cribetes. And there is another, perhaps even larger, group of individuals that shares your passion. Only their approach is a little different than yours. They embark on a series of bombing campaigns, destroying department stores by sending in puppies wrapped in dynamite. Now you can refuse to dissociate yourself from them on account of solidarity for a common cause, but it doesn't do much for your overall credibility. Particularly when you're trying to establish your movement as scientifically grounded. great_ape
There are just so many problems with the YEC viewpoint. I would like to believe in a young earth and not in evolution but it just doesn't work. I am forced by the evidence to take viewpoint along the lines of Denton (Nature's Destiny), Dyson and Tipler. If YEC does begin to provide overwhelming evidence to the contrary, no one will be more pleased than me. Until then though I am forced to believe in an old universe, an old earth and directed evolution. sfg
Stereotyping is nothing but a form of sophistry. Constant droning about how YEC is incompatible with science betrays a lack of vigor in understanding what drives various world views. YEC begins, unapologetically, from the standpoint that the Bible is true, and means what it says, and is supposed to be taken literally, except where the immediate context would suggest otherwise. YECs are well aware of the fact that scientific observations suggests a much older age of the universe than a literal reading of the Bible does. From the standpoint of a YEC, science will approach the reliability of the Bible when it can predict the future. Believing in a young earth will not cause the universe to implode, nor black holes to blink out of existence. YEC does not undo the history of science. It does not bite children, cause computer viruses, or reverse the arrow of time. Let's not pretend that somehow materialism, apart from YEC, is based on the facts, and is an objective conclusion reached after studying a wealth of scientific evidence. Much like the constraints upon YECs, materialists must fit scientific discoveries within the tight constraints of naturalism. Both YEC and materialism BEGIN with a claim about the nature of the universe as we know it, and make the data fit the view, at least to a large degree. YEC begins with the Bible. Materialism begins with Atheism, even anti-theism. Neither of these world views is the result of scientific discovery, arrived at after extensive research into the wealth of available scientific data. For these reasons, YEC is no more incompatible with science than materialism is, it just picks different things to hold to based on faith, irrespective of whatever the scientific community at large thinks it knows about the universe at any given time (read dark matter). The main thing that YEC has in common with ID is the IMPLICATION of the theory, that nature suggests intelligence. An honest YEC can support ID not because ID says ANYTHING AT ALL about Biblical creation, but because ID suggests what YEC has held all along: that nature reveals a designing intelligence. To many in the YEC crowd, ID is a breath of fresh air, not because it shares a methodology or even a philosophical starting point with YEC, but because ID proponents are promoting an understanding of science that is not forced to begin and end with a naturalistic world view. It's really not much more complicated than that, I suspect. The majority of both YEC and ID proponets understand the limited overlap of the two viewpoints. Thus YECs understand that ID has nothing really to do with YEC, and vice versa. Both materialists and ID proponents are free to dispise YEC, for whatever various reasons, but we've been around for at least 6,000 years, and so far we haven't gone away. When the time comes for vindication, I promise not to say "I told you so." =D Apollos
eebrom, You will have to ask the YEC's what their data is. They supposedly have a whole host of research that supports their viewpoint. They often talk of evidence that the Flood happened and caused most of the earth's geological formations such as the Grand Canyon. YEC's have generated a lot of the anti-Darwin findings and as such ID is indebted and several have Ph.D's in various fields. One scientist runs an extremely interesting website which analyzes published research on evolution. It is called creationsafaris.com. I do not have your experience with cosmology. To me the geology of the world sinks everything about a young earth. How do you explain 1) the mid Atlantic ridge and the constant building of new ocean floor and the several reversals of the magnetic field on the ocean floor 2) volcanic islands following the movement of the plates and each island can be measured with distinct differences the farther you get away from the hot points 3) mountain ranges, which have not moved more than a few feet in recorded history but contain fossils of sea creatures etc. I am sure YEC have an explanation for everything and I gather the Flood is an all purpose explanation for a lot of things though I do not know how that would explain the mid Atlantic ridge. If you are looking for a website that is pro ID and does not have YEC, then I am not sure if there is one. As I said some here may have some suggestions. The energy to generate these websites takes people with some commitment and I doubt there are too many besides the YEC's who would want to take it on. Part of their identity is centered on this issue while those from most other religions and ideologies are primarily centered on something else. However, there are enough people here who are not YEC that you can discuss anything with them if they have the time. Several of the moderators are not YEC and everyone is fairly reasonable to talk with, again if they have time. By the way I enjoyed your comments about literalism since I am definitely not one who believes in it, especially on Genesis. jerry
Thanks Jerry, for that info. Before I signed on here I read the "Uncommondescent holds that..." Reference is made to "scientific" a number of times. Why would a person inclined to YEC want to get involved with what is described as "scientific"? If I would insist the Universe was only 6000 years how would all the things we observe make any sense? What would happen to Black Holes, to gravitational lenses, to the speed of light, to the geological record? What would happen to all the predictions that science makes and all the reasonably tight cross-checks of distance measures of distant galaxies? What about general and special relativistic laws that accurately predict what is observed? And the list goes on and on... Science is also applied to language. It observes the way words and syntax make meaning. So, for example, if the word "day" is used differently in different parts of the Bible, how can literalist interpretation make any sense? Even in Genesis one, "day" is used differently. That is the way liberalism works: something is observed, but something else is wished for. So what is wished for is proven by a mental transformation of what is observed. That is not science. Can YEC offer any data to show that literalism works? Belief without data, like faith without works, is totally useless -- and dangerous. At the best, there is more opportunity for disagreement; at worst, you get the Jonestown type tragedies. My little GPS unit tells me where I am. Without using the laws of modern science (general and special relativity plus the speed of light) it wouldn't work. Why such an intense fixation on 6 days and 6000 years when every observation would indicate otherwise? Is it really true that I'm on the wrong Webpage? eebrom
Hi Salvador. Is Barry Setterfield’s speed of light decay theory really legit? sfg
eebroom, This may be the ID/YEC webpage so what you are asking is for another site that is ID/non-YEC. While this site's objectives are very definitely not limited to this worldview or any other worldview and any official positions are strictly non-religious, my experience is that most of those who post here are YEC. They feel very comfortable here. But anyone of any persuasion can comment here if they do not cross certain boundaries. For example, Darwinists get frustrated here because they think it is a slam dunk to dispose of ID and usually end up making insults before they are tossed when they cannot seem to make their case. However, some frequent commenters are Darwinists and often provide some of the more interesting discussions. Topics that elicit a religious or moral theme seem to get a lot of comments and if these themes are not consistent with YEC they expire quickly. For example, posts about Catholic, Muslim and Jewish support or opposition to ID never get more than a few comments unless somehow the thread morphs into something else. Despite the fact that some of the prominent people in the ID movement are Catholic, there are few Catholic viewpoints expressed here by commenters. Denyse who is a Catholic has posted many threads related to Catholic viewpoints but few seem to get Catholic posters to comment. My guess is that few Catholics and Jews care about the topic because it is not essential for their beliefs. I live in an area where there are many Catholics and Jews and never heard one who brought the topic up or cared to discuss it. One can be a Catholic or a Jew and the age of the earth is of little relevance and if Darwin's ideas work, so be it. But one cannot be a YEC and accept Darwin because there is a fundamental clash of worldviews since Darwin means an earth of billions of years. So it seems natural that a site like this would attract those who are YEC. It is anti-Darwin, pro designer who many believe is God and nothing currently about ID precludes a young earth. So what you are looking for would have to be someplace else but the question is who would fund it and run it. Even then I am not sure it would work. For example, Denyse has her own site and it gets little in terms of comments. The link to it is above. Others here may have some suggestions for other sites. jerry
To YECs: Before I die I would love to know how the various meanings/uses of the word "day" in the Bible are resolved by those who are literalists. What rule(s) do they use? When the Christian Church was younger they had ecumenical councils to adjudicate differences of opinion. The test was "Was the opinion consistent with the faith of the Fathers as handed down?" And so mere opinion either got relegated to what was deemed orthodox or what was deemed heresy. ID, if I've got it right, does not immediately address notions about the "designer"; it pays particular attention to the observable parameter called "design". I used to study stars -- which really means the design of stars. Although I believed in the designer of stars, I studied only their design for a living. If I had truly thought the light travel-time from stars was limited to something like 6000 years, none of my ideas, calculations, or proposals would have made any sense. If the whole Bible is about acknowledging the One God, it certainly appeals to every single aspect of human senses. In fact, the major claim is that the Logos became human to demonstrate the sense -- recalling that Logos means "reason, cause, sense, etc". Literalism imposes strict limits on God's "capabilities"; in effect, it imposes a subtle, but very real, materialistic imposition on every form of knowledge it would make opinions about. Whereas opposing opinion ought to be respected (up to a point!) there comes a time when each group must part company, otherwise both suffer the consequences of endless wrangling. IMO, scientific ID, like other areas of science (or religion) can progress only when they have a viable "S/N ratio". I think the history of ideas shows that. The trick is not to encourage centralized power or corporate orthodoxies or other liberal forms of extinguishing debate, it is to rise above the "noise level" Personally, I would advocate that YECers would have a separate Webpage -- NOT as a schism, but so that those inclined one way or the other could advance their notions without being caught up in each other's webs. That's why there are political parties and various expressions in religious denominations. People like Denyse and others appear to have infinite patience. What a shame if these folks had to spend ALL their energy on infinite patience! eebrom
I am a YEC and I see no conflict whatsoever between YEC and ID. O'Leary says she sees YEC as "attempt to confront the growing impact of materialism by adopting literalist Bible interpretation." Whatever. For my first 30 years, I thought Science proved Darwinian Evolution. I accepted that view, but things didn't make sense. My BA is in history. In history, I could plainly see countless examples of horror consequent to the "fact" of Darwinism. When the science came along in a book called "Scientific Creationism" by H. Morris, it dawned on me that the "Science" of Darwinism wasn't science, but philosophy, worldview or preconception is search of props...EXACTLY with the Darwinists claim is the problem of so-called Fundamentalists. My acquaintance with ID comes AFTER years of reading the science in support of creationsm. "Specified complexity" logically and unequivocally implies an Intelligent Designer. If O'Leary wants to interpret my comments as proof of her assertion that YEC is a "reaction", she is free to so and I am completely unoffended. Who cares? My "reaction" is identical to that described by the prophet Isaiah: "The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up." Isa 9:2 glennj
"Setterfield. Setterfield, Brown, and myself were an OECs until stumbling on the possibility of speed of light decay". What exactly does this mean? sfg
20, scordova Thanks very much for those links, particularly the "History of the Speed of Light Debate" one. I read about Setterfield's work in the Ex Nihilo journal years ago but the subsequent discussions got too complex for me to follow and I didn't know what to think about it. So it's good to know that people who understand the theory haven't given up on it. Janice
Stg, Not everything ANYONE says adds up to "credible science" either. Therefore, everyone needs "reformation", by that token. Mats
There is indeed a need for reform because not everything AIG says adds up to credible science. As someone sympathetic to YEC I agree with Sal that there needs to be a "reformation" of sorts. sfg
Rather than the ID community rejecting the YECs, reforming the YECs would be more productive.
There is no need to "reform" YEC. We have been so sucessful so far, by the Grace of God. I think that this spring, God willing, the Creation Museum will be opened to the public. I would call that a major victory for GOd's Glory! For sure, there are things that YECers have to change, specially in the ways to aproach the Genesis Message to the public. But overall, the basic Message (Recent Creation and Global Deluge) seem to be gaining on the public. Creation scientists seem to be appearing everywhere. Come to think of it, even last week I had the blessing of receiving a reply from a University Assistant Professor (Dr Jonatas Machado, PhD) saying pretty much the same things AIG says. But this time it was in my own lingo, portuguese. I sent him a mail and he was kind enough to reply. :D So there is no need to "reform". Mats
Hi Denyse. I liked your post on the true issues at hand, and I hope other ID proponents realize that attacking YEC as a way to set the road for ID is a waste of time. ID and YEC are not mutually exclusive. ID and OEc are not mutually exclusive either. I would like to make some short comments on your words:
(YECs, the folk who believe that the Bible teaches that the earth was created in 144 hours and therefore it must be true).
No YEC says that the earth was created in 144 hours. What we say is that the whole universe was created in six days, as confirmed by Exodus 20:11
Basically, anyone who adopts a non-materialist stance of any type on anything will be persecuted by the materialists dominant in science and public policy today.
Exacly! The war is not YEC against Evolution, but materialism vs non-materialism.
I took a couple of chapters to examine, in a neutral way, the origin of young earth creationism - where and how did it originate and who does it appeal to?
Did you check in the Bible? ;) I mean, the way you pose that question underlines a basic assumption which shows that you didn't start in such a "neutral position" after all. In my view (and I might be wrong) you start by the assumption that the Bible does not say that God made the universe in 6 days. After you have made this assumption, you "took a couple of chapters to examine, in a neutral way, the origin of young earth creationism". That's like Dawkins saying that creative intelligence can't be the cause of the universe bkz intelligence is the result of evolution. But his remark *assumes* evolution. In a similar fashion, you *assume* something and then claim to be *neutral*.
As a movement among American Protestants, YEC originated in the early 1960s.
hmmm.. I think not. Perhaps it's better for you to clarify what you see as YEC. Maybe you are alluding to the politicized version of "Religious Right", and assuming that the belief in Six Day Creation is a by product of that. When you say "YEC" do you mean "People who believe that the whole universe was made in 6 days" ? If so, then, as bevets has shown, there have been Christians (and Jews) who believed that the universe ("heavens and earth") were made in six days for centuries. In fact, that was the dominant view among Christians until the unscientific uniformitarian geology became the norm.
I personally view young earth creationism as an attempt to confront the growing impact of materialism by adopting literalist Bible interpretation.
Again, you *assume* that YEC is a by product of everything, EXCEPT the Bible. You know, it may well be that the Bible does teach that God made the universe in six days. If you are going to be neutral as you said (and I am not making any moral judgement, believe me), then....well, be neutral. YEC did not start as a way to confront materialism. Perhaps it's the other way around: materialism/uniformitarianism/darwinism are the result of rejection of YEC.
I don’t think it’s true and I don’t think it works.
It depends on what you mean by "it works". In the most scientifically trained nation in the world, the one which takes home tons of Nobel Prize each decade, almost half of the population knows that the universe was made in the last 10,000 years. I would call that a success. Does it mean it is right? No, but it apears that "it is working".
Beyond that, I don’t think literalism is the best way to understand the Bible.
But Denyse, you are a literalist too, right? You believe that the Lord Jesus was in the tomb for 3 literal days, don't you? And you believe that the Lord Jesus was in the desert for 40 literal days, right? And also, you believe that Jonah was in the giant fish's belly for 3 literal days aswell. Therefore, if you believe that "day" can actually mean "day", then you are a "literalist" too. Anyway, I liked the way you put the focus on the real issue: materialism vs non-materialism. We shouldn't waste time on irrelevant issues. ID is a scientific enterprise which points to scientific evidence for Designing Intelligence at the root of the universe. That's all ID does. Trying to "purge" ID from YECers it's a waste of time, specially since YECers are very sympathetic to ID. Mats
Literalism... Surely the MAIN point in the Bible from one end to the other is that there is but one literalism: the Great Shema... "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD; and thou shalt love the LORD with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and with all thy might." We don't need to get things confused with 24 hour days or tropical days or anomalistic days or sidereal days or Caesium days or Rubidium days. We don't need to worry that God might be a Rock, or about the number of feathers in His wings. We don't need to powder the "face of the waters" or "the deep". We don't need to think about a 12 hour day ("And God called the light Day"). The trouble with quoting early Fathers on matters of science is that, usually, one can find opposite opinions or interpretations. The trouble with pointing to Vatican I is that there is a Vatican II, and there likely will be a Vatican III and IV. In between, there are Encyclicals to interpret things for the "day" at hand. Interpretation of revelation is not a once-and-for-all "fact"; there can be but one fact of the One God. Everything else follows, or points to that one fact. Only one fact is greater than which anything else could possibly be conceived; that fact alone is worth worshipping. Literalism is a tangle of words, which provides endless wrangles. It can't see past its literal nose; it can't hear the music of the notes; it can't feel the shape of its promise; it can't sense the purpose from the pattern. Literalism is like invoking other gods instead of the One God. It is bondage to the particular rather than a song of the soul set free. It is fixed to the chance of sound and symbol and syntax rather than comprehensive, universal design. Augustine's wisdom is pertinent here because he is looking at the greater picture... "Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of the faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men.... Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by these who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion." eebrom
Janice, There are at least 3 YEC cosmologies: 1. Gish's created light 2. Russell Humphreys non-isotropic space white-hole cosmology 3. Barry Setterfield's speed of light decay I think Setterfield's cosmology is the best, and the creationist group of physicists I'm affiliated with in Northern Virginia is sympathetic to Setterfield. Setterfield, Brown, and myself were an OECs until stumbling on the possibility of speed of light decay. We were always open to YEC, but until this solution came forward, OEC seemed like the correct interpretation of Genesis (albeit a forced one).... Answers in Genesis is favorable to #2 and frowns on #1 and #3. The Institute of Creation Research (ICR) has advocated #1 and has done much to try to sabotage research on #3. You might be interested in this article: History of the Speed of Light Debate
Ed Note: We have been following Barry Setterfield's research on the speed of light since 1993.1 It is interesting that both evolutionists and creation scientists can be blinded by their own presuppositions...] The article mentions Gerald Aardsma of the ICR who did some underhanded backstabbing of fellow YECs and thus did much to stand in the way of what might have solved major problems in YEC cosmology (and indirectly question of the Christian faith). For that and other reasons, the ICR has left a bitter taste in my mouth. Here is a list of YEC websites and organizations I consider high quality in terms of science: www.creationscience.com www.creationsafaris.com http://www.trueorigin.org/camplist.asp www.rae.org www.grisda.org http://www.bryancore.org/bsg/ Few YECs know about GRISDA, yet it is the most advanced YEC research center in the world. It is affiliated with a Loma Linda University which has are real medical school, a hospital, laboratories, and a real reasearch center which gets its article published in secular peer-reviewed journals. They were even on the cover of Geology in February 2004! One of GRISDA's researchers is Timothy Standish who was featured in the pro-ID book dedicated to Phil Johnson, Darwin's Nemesis. Bryancore/BSG is the group which Richard Sternberg was affiliated with. CreationScience.com is affiliated with Walter Brown, PhD MIT. I am hoping a pro-ID creationist group in Northern Virgnia will be forming in the not too distant future....
Janice There's a large number of disparate physical processes - weathering, deposition, continental drift, chemical reactions, radiometric, astronmical observations, and so forth which all agree that the earth, sun, and universe are much older than 6,000 years. While it's possible to raise arguably plausible skepticism to any one process in isolation the convergence of all of them together are IMO unassailable. Just as one might argue that any single complex protein in a living thing might be explained by chance the incredibly complex interdependent orchestration of all them together pushes chance & necessity hypotheses into the realm of impossibility. DaveScot
SLIGHTLY OFF TOPIC but there is just so much info on this website to read that I thought I should comment on it in case some people miss this important story. The top article in the Additional Decent Column entitled "Freaky Beaky" concludes with this statement by Andre Farrar, spokesman for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. "Blue tits normally have short, powerful, stubby beaks that allow them to pick up insects, seeds and berries but this one clearly has a gross deformity which means he can only eat out of the side of his beak. Mr Farrar said it was difficult to say what caused the super size beak but that it may be what farmers know as "feather and beak" disease, a condition that causes abnormalities in birds." Now if there had not been human intervention (and plenty of bread dripping yum!) Freaky Beeky would have died. So this is an excellent example of mutation leading to disability and dead ends. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6506465.stm sfg
"Furthermore, if these galaxies where colliding into each other before the supposed fall of man then it shows the universe was already in a state of decline and disorder (rather than that disorder arrising from the biblical god extracting himself from his creation)". - Acquiesce If Walter Brown and Scordova are correct about the age of the universe, then obviously our dating methods are flawed and your observation is incorrect. As someone who wants to be one of the new 'reformed' YEC's, I hope to see in the near future more thought to devoted to questions like this. sfg
The problem with the young universe belief is more than just the speed of light, it's also the speed at which galaxies move. For example, our improved technology has now allowed us to identify galaxies which have collided into each other. Galaxies move relatively slowly, and if we assume they were not made to look like they collided, then this surely raises serious doubts about the vailidity of young universe claims (and also therefore claims regarding the earth's young age) Furthermore, if these galaxies where colliding into each other before the supposed fall of man then it shows the universe was already in a state of decline and disorder (rather than that disorder arrising from the biblical god extracting himself from his creation). Acquiesce
Have any of you read D. Russell Humphreys' "Starlight and Time"? I know that some followers of Hugh Ross have criticised it but Humphreys appears to have answered their objections. I can't judge which side is correct and, really, I have my doubts about the Big Bang* too. My point is only that whatever Duane Gish may have said about God making sure that light from stars was immediately visible Humphreys has at least offered a science based explanation for how light from stars calculated to be millions of light years away could be seen now even if the cosmos is only about 6,000-10,000 years old. And then there is the RATE project in which helium diffusion from U->Pb decay in zircon crystals was measured and compared to the dates derived radiometrically. I've only read brief reports on the results of the work but it seems that the amount of helium found corroborates the YEC position. The long ages derived from U->Pb decay can, IIRC, be understood as the outcome of the relativistic scenario that Humphreys describes. So YECers don't just appeal to the authority of Scripture. They have also been working on resolving the apparent contradictions between their "plain" reading of Scripture and the scenarios that materialist science has produced while always acknowledging that they hold to their scientific explanations lightly. * If you've read Arp's "Seeing Red" you'll know that he argues that the red shift may have nothing to do with the Doppler effect. Janice
Hello Sal,
Your argument assumes a person has accepted the Bible as God’s word.
Yes, I see that. Earlier I qualified what I wrote, but perhaps I should still have prepended "According to the passage." Regardless of whether one accepts the Bible, is it not evident that, according to the passage, God says he created things in six days?
But such a line of argumentation is not helpful to the doubting Thomases who want to believe, but find the explanations from other believers wanting…
Yes, some of these explanations (e.g., starlight created in transit) aren't believable and might have been better replaced with a simple "we don't know how this fits in the context of the biblical account." I suppose the argument I gave may not be very helpful in the light of current scientific consensus. I would, however, contend that it's no better to say, "the Bible really does accommodate billions of years, even though it doesn't look that way" than to say "starlight really is only thousands of years old, even though it doesn't look that way." Moreover, the two "appearance" problems aren't on equal footing. In one case, we have a straightforward eyewitness account. In the other case, we are attempting to reconstruct what happened, based on what we see now, much later than the event we're trying to understand. As for Gideon: Yes, he questioned the identity of the messenger; and yes, he questioned the truth of the messenger's words. It does not appear, however, that he failed to comprehend the message. It was BECAUSE he understood it that he found it so hard to believe.
Unless physical reality is seen to be in agreement with what you laid out, the argument you presented has given good reason for people to disbelieve the Bible or at least YEC interpretations.
You're right. Given a culture in which educated people don't question that the earth is billions of years old and the universe far older, the argument I presented would logically lead to the conclusion that the biblical account isn't to be believed. I don't think this observation invalidates the argument. Nevertheless, I doubt that many people are complete strangers to the world of cognitive dissonance. If someone is attracted to Christianity, that person can shelf the "age of the earth" problem; and the day may come when he discovers that the evidence actually doesn't support an old earth so uniformly has he has been led to believe.
Gish may argue a possibly correct conclusion (YEC) with a bogus “explanation”.
Oh, I completely agree. I'm not happy either when someone reaches a right conclusion through faulty reasoning. As I've said, it's probably better to admit one doesn't have a good answer than to grasp at straws. But when you're trying to win a public argument, I suspect that's not an easy option to take. I've never debated and so don't know what sort of things the mind is able to justify under pressure.
If one backs up literalism with bogus “scientific” explanations like what Gish offered, fine minds will be driven from YEC.
Again, I agree.
Furthermore, Jesus didn’t cure doubting hearts by only demanding people believe in what he said.
You're right, he didn't. He made extraordinary claims, and he did extraordinary things in order to give credibility to his claims. RickToews
As a movement among American Protestants, YEC originated in the early 1960s. I don’t think literalism is the best way to understand the Bible. ‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,' that is, the substance of the heavens and the substance of the earth. So let no one think that there is anything allegorical in the works of the six days. No one can rightly say that the things that pertain to these days were symbolic. ~ Ephrem the Syrian For you seem to me, O Theophila, to have discussed those words of the Scripture amply and clearly, and to have set them forth as they are without mistake. For it is a dangerous thing wholly to despise the literal meaning, as has been said, and especially of Genesis, where the unchangeable decrees of God for the constitution of the universe are set forth ~ Methodius Whoever takes another meaning out of Scripture than the writer intended , goes astray, but not through any falsehood in Scripture. ~ Augustine They are deceived, too, by those highly mendacious documents which profess to give the history of many thousand years, though, reckoning by the sacred writings, we find that not 6000 years have yet passed. ~ Augustine If anyone does not confess that the world and all things which are contained in it, both spiritual and material, as regards their whole substance , have been produced by God from nothing, let him be anathema. ~ Vatican I bevets
Maybe, a very long time ago, there were many conflicting theories of origins, progressions, mutations, designs, flukes, etc. After many years, when nobody could agree, each group decided to stick to their guns, repeating their theories until theory became fact. Once facts were established they were worshipped, and many gods became the order of the day. When all the gods got into bitter fights, the people suffered terribly. Then, as if by design, the notion of one God became known. Truth was absolute, black and white were not equal; whoever followed the one God could expect better than they could have hoped for. Origins were not complicated with equations, negative energies or vacuums, strings, or unified fields of endless, imaginative concoctions... God is the origin, period. The simple truth of the matter was written down so that everybody could understand without partial differential equations, tensors, Christoffel symbols, or groups. Later, the matter of the simple truth became filled with partial differential equations and all the other shorthands of design. Some got stuck to the words of what was written, so the words became facts, and those facts then were worshipped. Others looked for the truth of the whole matter and used the words more like lyrics of praise to the truth of the one God. It wasn't long before the some and the others were tripping over each other. Then, some of the tripping became premeditated, and each blamed the other. Little by little the notion of the one God became warm and fuzzy logic relegated to cozy Sundays. The words of sense got lost in the sense of words. And so the truth of "come let us reason together" got lost in the dirty dust of gods fighting. The people suffered the consequences. Truth persevered, still offering its freedom to any and to all. Allowing invisible things to be clearly seen -- notwithstanding endless excuses. eebrom
RickToews: So, judging from this passage, it seems evident that 1) God DID say he created this stuff in six days,
Your argument assumes a person has accepted the Bible as God's word. But such a line of argumentation is not helpful to the doubting Thomases who want to believe, but find the explanations from other believers wanting.... The question then is whether God really said that. It is perfectly natural for many (including men good men like Gideon) to: 1. doubt what they hear or read as coming from God 2. interpretations of the Bible 3. whether the Bible is true Unless physical reality is seen to be in agreement with what you laid out, the argument you presented has given good reason for people to disbelieve the Bible or at least YEC interpretations. For example, here is an excerpt from the Duane Gish-Zindler debate:
Art: And if… How would you care to objectively evaluate the fact that we can see light from stars that are more than ten thousand light years away from us. Doesn’t that kind of blow your… Duane Gish: Well if a star is say a million light years away, and we have a pretty good idea that it is, it would obviously, at the rate of 186,000 miles per second, take a million years to get here, there’s no question about that. But if the universe, on the other hand, was supernaturally created, you see, that light did not necessarily start from the star. Now in our particular model… Art: How? How can light not start from a star? Duane Gish: Because, if god created the earth, and he created the stars, and if he, as he said in the scri… in the Bible, that he created stars to be for signs and seasons on the earth, obviously he’d have to make them visible immediately. Lindsay comments: So, Gish is arguing for Apparent Age. Some ICR publications such as “The Invisible Things of God” do the same. There are two problems here. First, why stop at starlight? If stars have apparent age, why not the earth? If the earth, why not all of history? We are on the slippery slope towards Last Wednesdayism.
Gish may argue a possibly correct conclusion (YEC) with a bogus "explanation". If I said "the moon orbits the earth because the moon is made of cheese" I have made a true assertion with "the moon orbits the earth" but offered a bogus explanation as to why. Gish similarly makes a possibly correct assertion, but justifies it with a bogus explanation. Josh McDowell gave the same argument, and by doing so, he gave me good reason not to think him a credible apologist.... If one backs up literalism with bogus "scientific" explanations like what Gish offered, fine minds will be driven from YEC. In some cases the process ends up making lots of Michael Shermers. Arguing for literalism does not help many scientifically minded Christians to think YEC claims are believable, especially with explanations like those offered by Gish. Now consider JP Moreland's response:
The argument is that if you take the days of Genesis as not being six days and take them as maybe longer periods of time, then where do you draw the line...why wouldn't the same reasoning imply that we'll eventually have to reinterpret the virgin birth and the resurrection of Jesus. Let me give you a counter-example. I doubt, sir, that you or anybody else in the room takes the biblical passages that say that 'Jesus will call his angels from the four corners of the earth' to teach a flat Earth. I also doubt that anyone in here says that when the sun rises and sets it literally means an earth-centered universe. But you must understand that...there were times when the church interpreted the text that taught that God--Christ will call his angels from the four corners of the world to teach very obviously that the world has four corners. The text says that. There is absolutely no evidence in that text that it means anything other than four corners. You can read it until you're blue in the face, and it says that the Earth has four corners. Similarly, the Bible says the sun rises and sets. Now, that's what it says. You can dance around it all you want. That's what the text says. But there's nobody in here that believes that. No one in here believes the earth has four corners. And so, what we've done is taken that language and interpreted it metaphorically. Similarly, with the rising and the setting of the sun, we treat that...phenomenologically--we say that's the language of description; it is not meant to be taken literally.
I find the better line of argumentation is to follow physical evidence. Walter Brown's YEC website is very good at this. Furthermore, Jesus didn't cure doubting hearts by only demanding people believe in what he said. Consider John 10:38
though ye believe not me, believe the works
There is a difference between demanding allegience versus inspiring allegience. If one makes the claim the Bible says a literal 6 day creation, they better be able to back up the claim better than the way Gish did, lest they unwittingly give reasons to believers to disbelieve. 1 Pet 3:15 assumes one will give good reasons to believe, not bad reasons to believe.... scordova
Sal, Remarking on the YEC insistence that "It's true because God said so":
"Of course it would be true if God said so, the question at hand is whether God said so, and whether we’re interpreting what he said correctly."
Legitimate questions. In the Exodus passage that recounts the giving of the 10 Commandments, God is said to have spoken these words: "in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and everything in them." The context doesn't appear to be figurative or poetic, considering that such straightforward commands as "do not murder" and "do not commit adultery" follow shortly after. So, judging from this passage, it seems evident that 1) God DID say he created this stuff in six days, and 2) the language isn't in any way arcane, and it's not in a figurative setting, so it's probably safe to conclude that the words mean what they appear to mean. The question that remains is whether what the words say is actually true. Current scientific view says No, just as it says No in regard to ID.
"We have to trust that reality is structured such that the facts will prevail over any areas where our knowledge is mistaken."
Good observation. RickToews
"I’m in the peculiar position of disdaining militant YEC culture, disdaining their proof methods, yet sharing and vigorously defending some of their conclusions." I'm curious, what conclusions do you share? Do you think the dating is wrong? sfg
I think the biggest mistake many YECers make is militancy i.e. judging/condemning/attacking someone who believes in an old Earth. Their time would be much better spent witnessing to the Resurrection assuming they can do it out of love and not anger. And I say this as one who basically considers himself to be a YECer in the sense that in the end the calculations based on Biblical geneaologies will be found to be true, although maybe not in the way I excpet them to. Anyone Old Earthers are not usually neither liars nor fools, and the science is on their side right now. tribune7
The suggestion that one could (let alone should) "kick someone out" of ID is just begging for a reductio ad absurdum treatment. If someone agrees with me about X, but they disagree with me about some independent proposition Y, then what? They don't belong in the X club? They are no longer legitimate in their affirmation of X? What if someone affirms that the origin of biological information implies intelligent design, but differs from me on quantum mechanics, or special relativity, or eschatology, or who they plan to vote for? The questions (note plural) concerning age are legitimate, but independent, and the positions are diverse. Among those who consider Scripture to be inspired, some hold that the universe is entirely young. Others hold that the universe is old, but the earth is young (e.g. due to relativistic differences in aging from gravitational effects, as in the Andromeda sci fi). Still others such as Gorman Gray hold that the Bible, even if interpreted literally, does not require that either the earth or the universe is young. Their age is not specified. He would maintain only that the biosphere is young, being recently created. Still others find no necessary conflict between a long history for life and the inspiration of Scripture. The evidentiary question about the age of the universe, the earth, or of life is its own question. Likewise, questions of theological interpretations are clearly outside the realm of ID. ericB
If IDists think they are going to gain credibility by attacking YEC’s then they are hopelessly niave
Speaking as someone who is considered a YEC (85% YEC/15% OEC), some of the harsh criticisms falling on the YEC camp is well deserved. I'm in the peculiar position of disdaining militant YEC culture, disdaining their proof methods, yet sharing and vigorously defending some of their conclusions. That said, it would be better to see reforms in the YEC community to teach them the ID way of doing business and the ID culture. YECs will be good and capable allies if the YECs can reform the way they do business. I'm seeing hints that this reformation has hope of succeeding, and much is owed to the success of the ID movement. A student in math quickly learns that claims of mathematical truth are not adequately defended by saying "the professor said so". Even if student ascents to mathematically true theorems, stating an invalid proof to a true statement on an exam will cost the student points toward his grade. If on a math exam, when asked to show the truthfulness of a mathematical statment, I said, "It's true because the professor said so", would I expect the answer to be treated with dignity or respect? No! I'd be called out as someone who has no clue and not someone who will earn trust that I have the ability to discern truth. Yet the militant YEC community tries to persuade others with similar "proofs" by saying, "it's true because God said so". Of course it would be true if God said so, the question at hand is whether God said so, and whether we're interpreting what he said correctly. Even good men like Gideon have such doubts:
If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you [God] talking to me. Judges 6:17
If a proper metaphysics and world views were a prequisite to finding truth, none of us would have hope of finding truth. We have to trust that reality is structured such that the facts will prevail over any areas where our knowledge is mistaken. That is the faith and spirit of the scientific method. Rather than the ID community rejecting the YECs, reforming the YECs would be more productive. Individuals like Marcus Ross and Paul Neslson and Timothy Standish will valuable additions to the ID community. scordova
I think you're very wise politically, Denise. As for YEC, my main reason for being one is that I trust that God wrote the Bible. It would be like if the evolutionary robots in an earlier article read some data that revealed so much hidden reality about themselves that they knew it came from the humans that made them. Everything else in that data set could reasonably be taken as authoritative, because it should occur to the robots that the epistemology of their builders is superior to their own - their builders, knowing more about the robots hidden nature than the robots themselves, must have better ways of coming by knowledge than the robots themselves, and therefore the facts in the data set they read are probably superior to those that the robots can come by themselves. Of course, this being the case, there should be no fear to test that hypothesis for all it's worth. When it comes to the age of the earth, I simply do not accept the assumption of gradualism when it comes to the various dating methods. There is no reason to assume (other than Occam's razor) that gradual changes occurring at the same rates as today, rather than catastrophic changes occurring rarely throughout history, produced what we see today. Designed Jacob
I'm not sure whether this is about materialism or whether it's more about human nature. In other words, we just don't like to admit when we don't know the answer(s), less still when the answers we've given later turn out to be incorrect. Acquiesce
I'd rather see ID and YEC do a pincer maneuver on the false ideas of materialism. rswood
Correct Jehu. Besides, we are not, by and large, trying to convince the committed materialists. There are really very few of them, and their metaphysical commitments make them impervious to evidence and logic anyway. We hope to convince the open-minded middle. Starting a fight with YEC’s does not help us reach that population. BarryA
You are correct. The battle is with materialism vs. non-materialism, whether the earth is young or old is small potatoes in that battle. If IDists think they are going to gain credibility by attacking YEC's then they are hopelessly niave and fail to comprehend what really motivates the soul of the materialists. Jehu

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