1. My Introduction to Young-Earth Creationism

Let me say upfront that I did not study Evolution when I was in school.  I was an Arts student and where I come from, that meant that Science was studied only generally – General Science, it was called.  General Science contained aspects of Biology, Chemisty, and Physics.  Nothing too in-depth, you understand.  Just enough to have a basic working knowledge of the world around us.   I had read and understood that evolution was a scientific fact and that it tried to explain how life came about.

When I became a Christian, my understanding of how life came about did not change.  In fact, I did not even think that there was any conflict between the account given in Genesis and the account accepted by the rest of the world.  I knew that God was in control of everything.

Then when I was in university, something happened to change my outlook.  I started hearing comments about how the earth is only 6,000 years old.  How men did NOT come from apes, but were created in the image of God.  How evolution is all wrong.  I was not exposed to a lot of this type of talk, but these ideas started to germinate in my ready-to-learn-all-it-means-to-be-a-Real-Christian mind.  The seeds were planted.

After I got married, we started attending a small, informal fellowship.  The leader of that church was rather outspoken and opinionated.  He believed that Genesis had to interpreted literally, which meant that the earth had to be no more than 7,000 years old.  He mocked evolutionary theory – he gave an account of how whenever he heard someone say, “millions of years,” he would retort, “What a load of gaaaar-bage!”  I felt uncomfortable with the idea of scoffing, but I began thinking that I HAD to reject evolution and fully embrace a literal interpretation of Genesis (especially the first 11 chapters).

Later, while still in this fellowship, I became acquainted with Young Earth Creationism leaders and spokespersons.  They were all of the opinion that a true Christian MUST accept Young Earth Creationism.  The idea was that evolution was synonymous with atheism.  A Christian who believed in evolution was either ill-informed, or brainwashed by the world, or a compromiser.  I swallowed this.  I became a condescending, arrogant, judgemental scoffer.  But I felt justified in my attitudes.  After all, it was those evil, evil evolutionists who were teaching lies and pulling away millions of people (Christians!) from the Truth!

God was indeed taking me on a ride, but one which I had no idea where the destination would ultimately be!

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Posted on Tuesday, April 6th, 2010, in Church, Creation vs Evolution, Religion. Bookmark the permalink. 63 Comments.

  1. Dear Kathy,

    I began looking around your blog this evening (and thanks for visiting mine, by the way). I appreciate you being vulnerable and honest in these posts, and sharing your story.

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  2. Dear Susan,

    Thank you so much for visiting my blog and leaving a comment!

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  3. Hello Kathy,

    I found this site while searching, and although I’m going to regret jumping into yet another discussion on this topic, the low (apparently) traffic here and the fact that you are in Melbourne where I am has probably skewed my judgement.

    I can understand your discomfort at hearing the mocking of your (then) pastor, but beyond that, you seem to have a somewhat distorted view of Biblical creation.

    In fact your information seems to come more from reading anti-creationists sources such as TalkOrigins, than from first-hand research of creationist sources.

    I’m intrigued by your comment “Later, while still in this fellowship, I became acquainted with Young Earth Creationism leaders and spokespersons.”. This seems to imply that these people were present in your church. Yet the leaders and spokesmen of Australia’s leading creationist organisation are mostly in Brisbane. Perhaps you meant that they visited your church once? In which case, a quick meeting (or two) is hardly a suitable basis for properly understanding them.

    I notice, however, that you criticise yourself for once being “a condescending, arrogant, judgemental scoffer”, but are *now* effectively simply scoffing at the creationist claims, as you don’t explain what is wrong with them. If the Bible says that the world was created in six days, then surely it *is* necessary for a Christian to accept a young earth. So, prima-facie, they are correct, and you’ve simply *dismissed* the claim. Similarly, there are many examples of evolution leading people away from God, so your mocking comment about creationists claiming that appears also to be scoffing.

    There are many other comments I could make about other posts (such as the incorrect claim that CMI is the Australian “arm” of AiG), but I’ll leave it at this for now.

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  4. Dear Philip,

    Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment.

    You are right – my blog is not a high-profile blog at all. 🙂

    I’m sorry I wasn’t clear in my blogpost. When I said that I became acquainted with YEC leaders and spokespersons, I meant that the people in my (then) fellowship talked at length about them We watched videos by Ken Ham and Kent Hovind, etc.

    I myself own several copies of YEC videos and audio CDs. I also own books written from a YEC perspective. (I can give you a full list of those books if you wish). So to say that I have a distorted view of Biblical creation seems strange (to me).

    I have written 59 (at the time of writing this) reviews of the Jonathan Park Audio Adventure Series put out by Vision Forum. The aim of this series is to ‘provide children and adults with scientific evidence that is in harmony with the Word of God’. Some reviews are more detailed than others. But, if you want an explanation of what I think is wrong with YEC claims, those reviews would be a good start: https://yewnique.wordpress.com/jonathanparkreviews/

    Your post seems to imply that only a belief in a young earth is Biblically sound. Do you not believe that other forms of creationism can also be ‘Biblical’?

    CMI and AiG were at one time one and the same. I understand that the two are now independent of each other (although I have a friend who told me that ‘CMI _IS_ Answers in Genesis.’ ) What would be the best way to describe the two and yet relay the fact that they were at one time linked?

    Thanks again for leaving a comment.

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  5. Kathy,

    First let me explain one aspect of where I am coming from. When we describe what a particular group of people believe, it’s proper to refer to the beliefs of leaders, official spokesmen, etc., not to lay people, Internet forum commenters, etc. So when it comes to “creationists” (YEC, specifically), then whose beliefs/statements should we take as representing that group? There is no one single organisation that could be said to be the main player. However, there are a number of prominent creationist organisations that are not “one man bands” and which interact with each other, and which generally agree on what creationism is. That is, they practice a principle similar to peer review, or, if you like, “in the multitude of counsellors there is safety (Proverbs 11:14)”, both internally (within the organisation) and externally (with other organisations). So clearly these organisations could be said to “represent” what creationists believe.

    These organisations include (but are not necessarily limited to), the Creation Research Society, the Institute for Creation Research, Creation Ministries International, and Answers in Genesis. In looking around a number of your blog posts I had noticed references to CMI and AiG, so I assumed that you were referring to them when you cite what creationists believe.

    One that is absent from that list is Kent Hovind. Although his material is quite popular, his ministry was essentially a “one man band”, and although much of his material is good, it does stray into areas that the other organisations would reject. See also http://creation.com/maintaining-creationist-integrity-response-to-kent-hovind

    I hadn’t noticed Kent Hovind being one of your sources prior to your response, so some of what I described as a distortion of biblical creation may be due to him being one of your sources.

    I am also unfamiliar with the Jonathan Park series (I had heard of it, but that’s about all). I see that it was originally started by ICR, but is now produced by a different organisation. I can’t comment on how accurately it reflects creationist thinking without doing some research on it.

    I did note, however, that you said that TalkOrigins (TO) “has been very helpful to me in understanding what exactly Creationists claim and that there are answers to those claims! Well-thought out answers.”. TO has a distorted view of creationist claims, so if your views have been shaped by TO, then your views would most likely be distorted also. I would also add that one of TO’s problems is that rather than stick to leading creationist sources (as I’ve explained above) or at least make a clear distinction, it will cite almost anybody propounding almost anything remotely anti-mainstream science as “creationist”, including, for example, Christadelphians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Intelligent Design proponents, and non-biblical-creationists such as Sir Fred Hoyle who concluded from the maths that abiogenesis was impossible.

    Sorry for the lengths of these posts. I’ll stop this one here and reply to your questions in a following post.

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    • Dear Philip,

      Happy Father’s Day to you!

      I think you’ve pretty much summarised the problem with Creationism (as a whole) when you say: “There is no one single organisation that could be said to be the main player. However, there are a number of prominent creationist organisations that are not “one man bands” and which interact with each other, and which generally agree on what creationism is.”

      As I see it, even the YECists themselves can’t agree on a comphrehensive YECist model. Nonetheless, they have agreed to some basic ‘doctrines’ of YECism and act as an internal peer review board for each other.

      I am aware that Kent Hovind has his critics within the YEC community and that his views should not be seen as representative of the general YEC community.

      Much of the information presented on the Jonathan Park series is directly from ICR.

      I believe that TO addresses ALL forms of Creationism, and not just Christian YECism. And yes, when I read their list of Creationist Claims, I do take note of whom they are quoting.

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      • Kathy,

        One of the problems I see here is one of apparent double standards. I’ll cite two examples.

        You say that “the YECists themselves can’t agree on a comphrehensive YECist model”, and that this is “the problem with Creationism”, yet evolutionists can’t agree on a comprehensive evolutionary model either. So why is this a problem with creationism, but not evolution?

        On your first Jonathan Park review, you say that “Overall, it’s the tone the characters take when referring to non-Young Earth Creationists that I found disturbing.”. Similarly, in another article you say that Jonathan Sarfati’s “rebuttal book’s title to be mocking and sarcastic.”. Frankly, I don’t see how it is, but that’s beside the point for the moment. Compare the creationist tone with comments such as these:
        Richard Dawkins: “It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that).”
        Isaac Asimov said that all “creationists are stupid, lying people who are not to be trusted in any way.” and that all of their “points are equally stupid, except where the creationists are outrightly lying.”
        Or what about the (short-lived) on-line magazine published on TO called “Cretinism and Evilution”.

        I can understand that you might expect higher standards from Christians than non-Christians, but that is no reason to criticise creationists while overlooking the often vile comments from evolutionists.

        Yes, it’s fair enough that TO covers all forms of creationism but not that it fails to adequately distinguish between different forms, preferring to use guilt by association and lump them all in together.

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      • Philip,

        Re: Comprehensive model
        To my way of thinking, evolution is actually quite comprehensive. I like what Todd Wood (a YEC) had to say:

        “Evolution is not a theory in crisis. It is not teetering on the verge of collapse. It has not failed as a scientific explanation. There is evidence for evolution, gobs and gobs of it. It is not just speculation or a faith choice or an assumption or a religion. It is a productive framework for lots of biological research, and it has amazing explanatory power. There is no conspiracy to hide the truth about the failure of evolution. There has really been no failure of evolution as a scientific theory. It works, and it works well.”

        And:
        “We [Creationists] still don’t have a comprehensive model to understand Flood geology, a topic that creationists often bitterly and angrily debate. We’re also deeply divided in our approach to biological problems (witness the tempest over hominid baraminology), and we don’t have a generally-accepted (among creationists) young-age creationist cosmogony.”

        Yes, there has been bad behavior from both the Creationist and Evolutionist camps. And I cringed a bit when I first saw the title of TO’s online magazine.

        I don’t see TO’s lumping all Creationists together as ‘guilt by association’. But, that’s me. YMMV.

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      • Kathy,

        I was talking about /agreement/ between creationists, and responding to that you said that “the YECists themselves can’t agree on a comphrehensive YECist model”. So I took your remarks as referring to a lack of /agreement/, not to them not being /comprehensive/. Sure, evolution may be more /comprehensive/ in that very many scientists have worked on it for over a century, and the relatively few creationary scientists have only been working on it for a few decades, but that doesn’t mean that they are in agreement, and also that’s hardly a reason to criticise creationism.

        Okay, so you agree that evolutionists also have “bad behaviour”, and you “cringed” at the title of TO’s online magazine. But your blog here seems to criticise creationists more than evolutionists for this sort of thing, and even now in this comment, you are implicitly putting the “bad behaviour” of the two groups on a par, rather than acknowledging the far worse behaviour of some evolutionists.

        As for Todd Wood’s comments, not too many creationists would agree with him, and much of what he says is arguing against a straw man.

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      • Philip,

        I think there is a lack of agreement AS WELL AS a lack of a comprehensive model among Creationists (across the board). Within each ‘type’ of Creationism (OEC, YEC, Geocentrism, Flat Earthism, etc), there is a lack of agreement as well.

        Those evolutionists (anti-creationists) you quoted – Dawkins and Asimov – were vitriolic (hateful, in fact) in their statements. Not all who accept evolution would agree with those sentiments. Secondly, I notice those quotes are /opinions/ and not facts. It is harder to refute opinions that it is to refute facts. If I come across an ‘evolutionist’ misrepresenting Creationism (across the board), I would speak up.

        I am of the firm belief that ‘believing’ in evolution does not mean one has to be anti-Creationism. There are Creation models that allow evolution, eg, Evolutionary Creationism and Theistic Evolution.

        On the other hand, being a young-Earth Creationist /seems/ to necessitate being anti-evolution. (You yourself said you ‘believe that only belief in a young Earth is biblically sound’.) YECs may not agree on everything, but, if there is one thing YECs agree on, it is that ‘evolution in any shape or form must be wrong’. So, if anything, I am trying to combat young-Earth CreationISM’s anti-evolutionary ideas.

        In my JP reviews, I try as far as possible to state what is said in the programs, and show how and why those statements are wrong (eg, when evolutionary ideas are misrepresented).

        Most of what Todd Wood said in the first quote above is setting the record straight. Those straw men were set up by none other than Creationists.

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  6. Kathy,

    Yes, CMI and AiG were once connected, but AiG was a product of the Australian ministry, rather than the other way around (I’m avoiding describing it as a product of CMI, as it wasn’t then known as CMI). Brief histories of the organisations are available on the Internet in a number of places including CreationWiki, but http://www.astorehouseofknowledge.info/Creation_Ministries_International#History is as good as any.

    Yes, I believe that only belief in a young Earth is biblically sound. Any other view is inconsistent with a plain reading of the Bible, including the clear references in Genesis 1 and Exodus 20:11 to the world being created in six days. Much has been written on this, and it is not merely a simplistic reading that this is based on, but linguistic analysis, the consensus of the church through most of its history, and consistency with the rest of Scripture. It’s also notable that alternative views on this really only arose as a response to claims that the Earth was much older than 6,000 years. That is, views such as the days of Genesis 1 not being literal were not derived from Scripture, but were imposed on it in order to make it conform to secular views on the age of the Earth. Even numerous Christians who accept the secular age of the Earth admit that they do so because of the “science”, rather than Scripture. For example, Pattle Pun wrote that “It is apparent that the most straightforward understanding of Genesis, without regard to the hermeneutical considerations suggested by science, is that God created the heavens and the earth in six solar days…”. Note that: his belief in an older Earth is based on what he considers to be science, not on Scripture, which actually supports a six-day creation.

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  7. Philip,

    Thanks for answering my question. I am familiar with this way of thinking because I was immersed in it, surrounded by people who thought that way, etc.

    I am also familiar with the CMI/AiG history, but thanks for the link. It’s pretty messy; so rather than get into all that, I decided to say in a shorthand way that CMI is the Australian ‘arm’ of AiG. I know it doesn’t capture the full story, but I decided it would have to do. Sorry if it caused any discomfort.

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  8. “I think there is a lack of agreement AS WELL AS a lack of a comprehensive model among Creationists (across the board). Within each ‘type’ of Creationism (OEC, YEC, Geocentrism, Flat Earthism, etc), there is a lack of agreement as well.”

    If you are going to define creationism that widely, then of course there is a lack of agreement. That’s because YEC and OEC are simply contradictory ideas. This blog post of yours was about YEC, not other views. And to include Flat Earthism as a type of creationism is simply offensive nonsense.

    And again, I was comparing this to evolution. Evolutionists range between those who think it happened slowly and gradually and those who think it happened in quick spurts. Or somewhere in between. And between those who believe that birds evolved from dinosaurs and those who reject that. My point is that the lack of complete agreement is not a valid criticism.

    “Those evolutionists (anti-creationists) you quoted – Dawkins and Asimov – were vitriolic (hateful, in fact) in their statements. Not all who accept evolution would agree with those sentiments.”

    No, not all would agree. But contrary to your implication, such sentiments are widespread and generally not condemned by fellow evolutionists. TO, for example, links to PZ Myers blog, despite Myers making Dawkins and Asimov look like saints by comparison.
    It’s not confined to individuals either. Both Scientific American and New Scientists have published articles referring to creationists as liars, their views as “nonsense”, etc.

    But again, you have criticised creationists for very mild (at worst) bad attitudes, yet failed to balance that by pointing out that evolutionists can be far worse.

    “Secondly, I notice those quotes are /opinions/ and not facts.”

    So? We were talking about /attitudes/, not claims of fact. You criticise creationists for the attitude, but when I point out the far worse attitude of some evolutionists, you excuse it as opinion!

    “On the other hand, being a young-Earth Creationist /seems/ to necessitate being anti-evolution.”

    This is playing with words. Being an evolutionist necessitates being anti-YEC. So both sides require exclusion of the other; this is not something that only biblical creationists are guilty of.

    “Most of what Todd Wood said in the first quote above is setting the record straight. Those straw men were set up by none other than Creationists.”

    If they were, then they are not straw men. His opening claim that “Evolution is not a theory in crisis” is actually a reference to Michael Denton’s book, “Evolution: a theory in crisis”. Denton was/is an evolutionist, not a creationist.

    No leading creationist that I know of claims that evolution is teetering on the verge of collapse. No leading creationist I know of claims that there is no evidence for evolution. No leading creationist I know of claims that there is a conspiracy to hide the truth. Perhaps you could prove me wrong by documenting leading creationists who claim these things?

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    • “If you are going to define creationism that widely, then of course there is a lack of agreement. That’s because YEC and OEC are simply contradictory ideas. This blog post of yours was about YEC, not other views. And to include Flat Earthism as a type of creationism is simply offensive nonsense.”

      You’re right – this blog post is about YECism. Flat Earthism and Geocentrism – no matter how nonsensical – are forms of YECism, too. Nonetheless, I accept that most people when they think of YECism don’t think of those two.

      “My point is that the lack of complete agreement is not a valid criticism.”

      Okay – lack of agreement is not a valid criticism.

      “TO, for example, links to PZ Myers blog, despite Myers making Dawkins and Asimov look like saints by comparison.”

      TO links to all kinds of blogs and websites. I know of PZ Myers, but have not read him much.

      “Being an evolutionist necessitates being anti-YEC. ”

      Yes, but a person can be a Creationist without being a YEC. YECism is only ONE form of Creationism. I feel that many laypeople are only aware of one kind of Creationism, ie Young-Earth Creationism. Therefore they equate ‘Creationism’ with ‘belief in a young-Earth’.

      ‘No leading creationist that I know of claims that evolution is teetering on the verge of collapse. No leading creationist I know of claims that there is no evidence for evolution. No leading creationist I know of claims that there is a conspiracy to hide the truth.’

      Okay, then. Does Todd Wood know?

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  9. “Flat Earthism and Geocentrism – no matter how nonsensical – are forms of YECism, too.”

    Flat Earthism, at least, is not. It may be that the handful of people who believe in a flat Earth also espouse creationist views, but that does not make it a form of YECism.

    “Yes, but a person can be a Creationist without being a YEC. YECism is only ONE form of Creationism. I feel that many laypeople are only aware of one kind of Creationism, ie Young-Earth Creationism. Therefore they equate ‘Creationism’ with ‘belief in a young-Earth’.”

    True enough, but given that this article is about YEC, I’m not sure that I see your point. Anybody who holds strongly to a particular view will, of necessity, reject contrary views (assuming that they are aware of the contradiction). This doesn’t just apply to YECs. So although a theistic evolutionists might be happy with evolution, he’s not going to accept a biblical creationist view. So again, why criticise YECs for this as though they were the only guilty ones?

    “Okay, then. Does Todd Wood know?”
    Know that leading creationists don’t claim those things? It would seem not, judging by his comments. Do you know of creationists making those claims?

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  10. “So although a theistic evolutionists might be happy with evolution, he’s not going to accept a biblical creationist view.”

    I am going to disagree with this. A theistic evolution accepts evolution, yes, but also does accept the Biblical account of Creation – just not a literal interpretation of that account.

    “So again, why criticise YECs for this as though they were the only guilty ones?”

    I know that YECs are not the only ones guilty. I picked YECism to ‘criticise’ because their position is what I am most familiar with. (“Familiar” being a relative term!)

    ‘Do you know of creationists making those claims?’

    Yes. The Jonathan Park series makes the claim that evolution has failed as a scientific explanation, that there is no evidence for evolution, that evolution is a religion/faith choice/assumption/speculation, that evolution fails to explain things, that evolution has failed as a scientific theory.

    But you DID ask earlier for leading (young-Earth) Creationists, and perhaps the Jonathan Park series is not a good ‘ambassador’ for YECism. (I am perfectly willing to accept that this could very well be the case. In which case, YECists should also speak up against this series.)

    You said you don’t know any leading Creationists who make this claim, so I will defer to you.

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  11. “I am going to disagree with this. A theistic evolution accepts evolution, yes, but also does accept the Biblical account of Creation – just not a literal interpretation of that account.”

    I didn’t say that he’s not going to accept the biblical account; I said that he’s not going to accept “a biblical creationist view”. So my point stands.

    “I know that YECs are not the only ones guilty. I picked YECism to ‘criticise’ because their position is what I am most familiar with.”

    Are you saying that you are not (as) familiar with evolutionary positions? Because you are contrasting biblical creationist with evolutionary positions, and criticising the former although the latter are just as guilty.

    “Yes. The Jonathan Park series makes the claim…”
    I was asking specifically about the three points I mentioned, and only one of your examples from Jonathan Park corresponds to one of those three. Regarding the ones you mention…

    “evolution has failed as a scientific explanation”

    I didn’t dispute this one, because without criteria for determining success or failure, this is a matter of opinion. Creationists would agree that it’s failed, but possibly on different grounds than Wood might be talking about.

    “that there is no evidence for evolution”

    Okay, this one does correspond with the ones I asked about. Can you, without too much bother, recall where (in the series) this is claimed? I would like to hear it for myself.

    “that evolution is a religion/faith choice/assumption/speculation”

    Creationists do say that it can be considered a religion or a faith choice. And they have the support of some leading anti-creationists in that, such as Michael Ruse. This is one where leading creationists would disagree with Wood.

    “that evolution fails to explain things, that evolution has failed as a scientific theory”

    Again, without a criteria, this one is hard to judge. It is undoubtedly true that evolution does fail to explain /some/ things, but is that what Wood was meaning?

    “perhaps the Jonathan Park series is not a good ‘ambassador’ for YECism.”

    That gets back to my earlier comment about not knowing much about the series. You said that it uses ICR material, but if it really does explicitly say “there is no evidence for evolution”, then does that come from ICR, or was that just sloppy script-writing? I don’t yet know if I can accept or reject it as representative of leading creationists. Probably, also, some allowance needs to be made for the fact that the series is designed for children, and it might therefore take some liberties with wording. So in that sense it might not be representative.

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    • ‘I didn’t say that he’s not going to accept the biblical account; I said that he’s not going to accept “a biblical creationist view”. So my point stands.’

      I don’t believe that only YECism is Biblical creationism.

      Re: Criticising YECism.
      My ‘beef’ with YECism is the idea that Creation and Evolution must be mutually exclusive when this is not the case. The two can co-exist. That is all.

      Okay, I found one part where the character claims that there is no evidence for evolution: https://yewnique.wordpress.com/2010/12/24/review-jpark-ep35-the-wilderness-express-p1/#2

      I personally feel the script-writing is sloppy. But what do I know?

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  12. “I don’t believe that only YECism is Biblical creationism.”

    Okay, I wasn’t clear on my terms (“biblical creationist” is a term that YECs self-identify as). But that /still/ doesn’t change my point. To rephrase…
    So although a theistic evolutionists might be happy with evolution, he’s not going to accept a YEC view. So again, why criticise YECs for this as though they were the only guilty ones?

    “My ‘beef’ with YECism is the idea that Creation and Evolution must be mutually exclusive when this is not the case. The two can co-exist. That is all.”

    So your beef is that YECs are not spelling out that when they say that creation and evolution are mutually exclusive, they are talking about YEC and not other “creationist” views? Surely that is self-evident. But again, the point is that evolution contradicts what the Bible says.

    “Okay, I found one part where the character claims that there is no evidence for evolution: https://yewnique.wordpress.com/2010/12/24/review-jpark-ep35-the-wilderness-express-p1/#2

    The problem is that the character /doesn’t/ say that. At least not according to your description. I had found the first episode available on the Jonathan Park web-site, and assumed that the rest would be too, but it seems not, so I can’t listen to it for myself.

    But according to your description, the character says that evolution has not been “observed”. YECs would agree with that (with a qualification I’ll get to in a moment), but that is not the same as saying that there is no evidence for it, which was the claim that Wood was rejecting.

    The qualification is that one needs to define what one means by “evolution”. What has /not/ been observed is reptiles or dinosaurs becoming birds, fish becoming amphibians, and so on. What /has/ been observed are small changes that YECs have no problem with. The YEC objection to evolution is not to the modern, misleading, definition of a change in allele frequency (which has been observed), but the evolutionary “family tree” that says that all living things have descended from an original common ancestor. /That/ has not been observed.

    To put it a bit more technically, what the evolutionary family tree requires is a way to generate lots and lots of new genetic information. And /that/ has never been observed. Rather, many of the claimed examples of evolution are /losses/ of information (and many others are rearrangements of information).

    Incidentally, TO’s argument that you link to claiming that evolution has been observed is hardly a good argument. It briefly list five points. Points 1, 2, and 4 don’t event attempt to show that it’s observed. Point 3 makes the claim that speciation is evolution, but creationists do not dispute speciation, and point out that it doesn’t prove evolution. Point 5 is a link to a different argument, which it would take too much space to go into here. So really, TO’s answer, like many of its answers, withers under scrutiny.

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    • ‘So your beef is that YECs are not spelling out that when they say that creation and evolution are mutually exclusive, they are talking about YEC and not other “creationist” views? Surely that is self-evident.’

      Yes, to your question. No, it is not self-evident. It is the idea propagated by the YEC camp that the creation and evolution cannot co-exist that I refute.

      ‘But again, the point is that evolution contradicts what the Bible says.’

      I disagree.

      ‘The problem is that the character /doesn’t/ say that. At least not according to your description.’

      The direct quote is, “Evolution relies on mistakes in an animal’s genetic code to change it into something else over long periods of time. But that has never been observed – it’s unscientific.”

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  13. “No, it is not self-evident.”

    You yourself have said, I think, that people usually understand “creationism” to refer to YEC, so I would have thought that when YECs are claiming that evolution and creation are mutually exclusive, it would be clear enough that they are talking about YEC vs. evolution. But perhaps I assume too much.

    “It is the idea propagated by the YEC camp that the creation and evolution cannot co-exist that I refute.”
    The *idea* propagated is that *YEC* and evolution cannot co-exist, even if the /wording/ does not make that clear (per previous point).

    “I disagree.”

    Yet I have already pointed out the contradictions.

    “The direct quote is …”

    That doesn’t change things. The quote specifically refers to changing into “something else” /over long periods of time/. Given that mankind has only been observing these things scientifically for a minute fraction of the time that evolution postulates for these changes, it is quite correct to say that this has never been observed. Given that science requires /observation/, it’s therefore reasonable to conclude that this belief is unscientific. Further, the “something else” would not be referring to a (dark) peppered moth becoming a (light) peppered moth, but to a dinosaur becoming a bird, for example. So again, it is quite accurate to say that this has never been observed.

    Like

    • ‘The *idea* propagated is that *YEC* and evolution cannot co-exist, even if the /wording/ does not make that clear (per previous point).”

      Precisely, and no one would argue that point. It is inaccurate to say that Creation and Evolution are mutually exclusive.

      Evolution only contradicts a literal interpretation of the Genesis 1-11 (and some other parts) and not ‘the Bible’ as you claim. And no, I do not wish to get into a that discussion.)

      So, the YEC argument is:
      (1) Creation and Evolution are mutually exclusive (and there only two models)
      (2) Evolution contradicts the Bible
      (3) Therefore, Creation is True.

      It is the above three that I disagree with. I believe it is THIS set-up that causes people to fall away. (Again, no, I do not really wish to get into a discussion about this.)

      Science includes the study and interpretation of evidence available and does not always ‘require’ something to be observable.

      Like

    • Science doesn’t require observation of the phenomena or event in question. Science is in fact a method devised precisely because such observations are not practical, or possible even in principle. In cases like the question of how old the earth is, this is a forensic matter. There’s nothing unscientific about such questions, or hypotheses and models that attempt to perform against the related and relevant things we *can* observe.

      We can observe allelic frequency changes and genetic variation through reproduction. This is a “frame in a very long movie”, so long that we can’t ever “observe the movie”, because our human lifespans are far too short (by several orders of magnitude!), but which we extrapolate and infer from, in a forensic, and rigorous fashion, to come to conclusions based on what we observe happening around us.

      When the light from a billions-of-years-distant hits the eye of a YEC, he wasn’t there to observe the light emission from the star that many billions-of-years-he-denies ago. But working with what we can observe, what he can observe, and the models that perform against that (our modern physics models), we have scientific conclusions that fall out naturally and mathematically from that. You’d have to (tee hee!) resort to disputing the constancy of the speed of light, or reject the whole of physics, or invoke Last-Tuesday-ism or Omphalos to subvert the science there.

      It’s no different with evolution. There are no models, not a single one, that is physically coherent in supporting young earth believes. Not one even comes close. The models that DO perform, based on millions and millions and more observations and tests and trials, they make young earth timelines no more serious or credible than flat earthism.

      Above, you wonder what criteria is or should be used to judge the “success” of evolution or any scientific theory. Well, whatever skepticism you want to invoke (and skepticism is good — doubt is the foundation of human knowledge), evolution or modern cosmology, as limited and imperfect as they are just make any YEC ideas the proudly ignorant and insouciant indulgences of a small child by comparison.

      A meta-observation, in reading this exchange. Kathy, you’re a model of patience, and the conversation has been civil, which is a credit to you both. But here, Philip, and all reading, is a good case study in how Christianity just corrodes the soul of a human, and tempts him, time and time again, toward dishonesty, toward being disingenuous, and to debase the language and concepts we otherwise might put toward knowledge, consensus, progress and good will toward others.

      -TS

      Like

  14. “Science is in fact a method devised precisely because such observations are not practical, or possible even in principle.”

    Sorry, but this is nonsense:
    — “Scientists use observations, hypotheses, and deductions to make these conclusions”(http://www.sciencemadesimple.com/scientific_method.html)
    — “Observation is the key tool of a scientist.” (http://faculty.uca.edu/johnc/Observation1440.htm)
    –“The scientific method has four steps: 1. Observation…” (http://teacher.pas.rochester.edu/phy_labs/appendixe/appendixe.html)
    — “Scientific observation is the central element of scientific method or process.” (http://www.experiment-resources.com/scientific-observation.html)

    On the contrary, science was developed within /and because of/ Christianity, as it was Christianity that taught that nature itself was not divine, that a rational God made a world that could be rationally investigated, that we, being made in God’s image, were rational beings with the ability to do that investigation, and so on. Almost all the founders of scientific disciplines were creationists, studying God’s creation. John Lennox said recently:
    “Also, it was the Christian belief in an intelligent Creator and intelligible universe that “de-deified” the universe and paved the way for modern science. If anything, ardent atheism might take science backward to the immature reasoning of pantheistic societies.”

    “There’s nothing unscientific about such questions, or hypotheses and models…”

    I made a distinction between empirical science and historical science (or forensic science). I didn’t say that science couldn’t be used at all on issues of history. But that scientific involvement is limited.

    “We can observe allelic frequency changes and genetic variation through reproduction. This is a “frame in a very long movie”, so long that we can’t ever “observe the movie”, because our human lifespans are far too short…”

    Thank you for agreeing that the “long movie” (i.e. the evolutionary family tree” is not observed.

    “…we extrapolate and infer from, in a forensic, and rigorous fashion, to come to conclusions based on what we observe happening around us.”

    Yes, but it is possible to draw different inferences, and arrive at different conclusions. But those conclusion are not themselves empirically testable, hence not empirical science.

    “…we have scientific conclusions that fall out naturally and mathematically from that. You’d have to (tee hee!) resort to disputing the constancy of the speed of light, or reject the whole of physics, or invoke Last-Tuesday-ism or Omphalos to subvert the science there.”

    Nobody is interested in subverting science. But you don’t have to subvert science to come to different conclusions. Cosmology depends in part on assumptions, and different assumptions will give different results. One conclusion, based on relativity and the observation that the rate that time passes varies depending on gravity and velocity, is that billions of years passed in some parts of the universe during the six days of creation. That’s not changing the speed of light, rejecting the whole of physics, or Omphalism/Last-Tuesdayism/Last-Thursdayism. That’s a physics model.

    “There are no models, not a single one, that is physically coherent in supporting young earth believes. Not one even comes close.”

    Which just goes to demonstrate your ignorance or refusal to believe. Simply asserting that there are none does not make it so, and many scientists believe that there /is/ such a model.

    “skepticism is good”

    So why are so few scientists sceptical of evolution? Why are those that are sceptical marginalised, ridiculed, or even fired?

    “A meta-observation, in reading this exchange. Kathy, you’re a model of patience, and the conversation has been civil, which is a credit to you both. But here, Philip, and all reading, is a good case study in how Christianity just corrodes the soul of a human, and tempts him, time and time again, toward dishonesty, toward being disingenuous, and to debase the language and concepts we otherwise might put toward knowledge, consensus, progress and good will toward others.”

    Ironic, really. You complement both Kathy and me on being patient and civil, yet here you are deriding and mocking creationism, in the very same paragraphy, accusing Christianity of “corroding the soul”, leading to dishonesty, disingenuousness, debasement of language, and so on. I thank you for providing yet more evidence that Kathy is on the wrong track to criticise /YECs/ for their “tone”.

    Like

    • Hi Philip,

      First, None of those links do anything but support what I said. Think about it. If no witnesses are available to tell us who they saw kill Nicole Simpson, that doesn’t become then an unscientific question or even a less scientific question. The observations that *are* available to us are brought to bear in a way that is coherent and testable. We OBSERVE blood at the scene, and we OBSERVE that polymerase chain reaction tests done on the bloody footprints at the scene signaled a consistency with the DNA of OJ Simpson, something that is statistically vanishingly unlikely to happen by chance.

      On and on, the observations are collected, connected and refined into a model of what happened to Nicole. It’s science, applied science, and it has value because it relies crucial on observation.

      Non-forensic science, science that examines “happening now” phenomena is filled with events and interactions we can’t observe directly. There again we build models on what we CAN observe and DO observe, and we then subject these models to tests and points where they are liable to falsification, to see how the various models perform.

      This is basic philosophy of science, and it’s a big red flag that one’s interlocutor is either not informed on the basics, or is trying to pull your leg when the objection is raised that “it wasn’t observed and isn’t repeatable so its non-scientific or less scientific”. That signals a fundamental misconception about science, or worse.

      Second, this from you:

      “Yes, but it is possible to draw different inferences, and arrive at different conclusions. But those conclusion are not themselves empirically testable, hence not empirical science.”

      Is incorrect. The conclusions we draw are formed in such a way as to be testable, if we are pursuing knowledge. For example, no one was around at t=0, the moment of the Big Bang, so on your grounds we’re out of luck in terms of science, or open to “anything goes”, where any whimsical guess is as good as any other. But scientists build models from their hypotheses that have novel and precise implications and predications that are ENTAILED by the model. That means that if George Gamow’s hypothesis about the Big Bang was correct, that that model produced some necessary implications that we can test.

      One such prediction that came out of the model Gamow endorsed was the production of cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR), which was unknown and unverified at the time Gamow’s model produced the prediction, but which was a necessary consequence of that model. If Gamow was correct, than his ideas automatically led to the prediction that we should observe CMBR as part of the “backdrop” for the cosmos (and he made very precise predictions about the distribution and temperature of the CMBR we should find if he was correct).

      As fans of physics and science know, Gamow’s predictions were confirmed in spectacular fashion some years later.

      The point of that is, of course, that the conclusions like that in science which you say are not empirically testable, ARE in fact testable, and must be to provide epistemic currency for the conclusion. You may not be able to test YOUR inferences, for this is the nature of many superstitions, but models built like Gamow’s Big Bang model are rigorous in that they produce predictions that must be true if the inference is true, and which ARE empirically testable.

      Third, “Nobody is interested in subverting science” is precisely the kind of disingenuous platitude I was referring to at the end of my last post. Why would we give such a naïve statement as that a pass? Of course there are strong vested interests in subverting science. Science is the defeater for YEC beliefs, and thereby the defeater for the kind of simplistic literal interpretive frameworks for the Bible that depend on that.

      Why not just be honest and admit that science is a potent enemy of Young Earth beliefs? Young Earth Creationist Kurt Wise, who has a geology PhD from Harvard, and studied under Stephen Jay Gould, had this to say in “In Six Days: Why 50 Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation”:

      “. . . try as I might, and even with the benefit of intact margins throughout the pages of Scripture, I found it impossible to pick up the Bible without it being rent in two. I had to make a decision between evolution and Scripture. Either the Scripture was true and evolution was wrong or evolution was true and I must toss out the Bible. . . . It was there that night that I accepted the Word of God and rejected all that would ever counter it, including evolution. With that, in great sorrow, I tossed into the fire all my dreams and hopes in science.”

      and later in the essay:

      “…though there are scientific reasons for accepting a young earth, I am a young-age creationist because that is my understanding of the Scripture. As I shared with my professors years ago when I was in college, if all the evidence in the universe turns against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate. Here I must stand.”

      There are many ways to resolve other creationist beliefs that do not starkly contradict science. Kenneth Miller, and evolution proponent, and faithful Catholic, believes that God operates “behind the quantum veil” and guides mutations and other developmental events for humanity according to his purpose in ways science couldn’t detect, even in principle. That may not be a rational thing to believe for other reasons, but it’s beyond the scope of science to examine.

      Not so with Young Earth Creationism. YEC beliefs are scientific propositions, and therefore examinable and falsified. And they have been falsified as thoroughly as the idea of a flat earth.

      Given that, then OF COURSE there is a natural interest in subverting science. I was a YEC for many years, so I understand this well. Subverting science and all the denialism that goes with that is IMPERATIVE, essential to soothing the cognitive dissonance that is Young Earth Creationism.

      Fourth, I think you misunderstood my point on the “tone”. Criticism is fine, and edifying. Honest assessment and clear thinking are valuable in and of themselves, not just for what goals they have assist in achieving. I’m not being sarcastic, or claiming you are somehow unable to understand what I’m saying (or what Kathy is saying), or any of the other ad hominem things that tend to typify so many of these Internet exchanges. Christianity, and more specifically Young Earth Creationism, as *ideas*, are problematic in their conceptual structure in such a way that it exerts highly negative effects on the owner, in the same way being given everything one could want without having to work for it or earn it tends to corrupt one’s self-image and expectations about the world.

      There’s no “tone” that makes that any more palatable than it is above; it’s a bitter pill to swallow. These are wages of indulging in these kinds of superstitions.

      -TS

      Like

    • Hi Philip,

      You said:
      “On the contrary, science was developed within /and because of/ Christianity, as it was Christianity that taught that nature itself was not divine, that a rational God made a world that could be rationally investigated, that we, being made in God’s image, were rational beings with the ability to do that investigation, and so on.”

      What does it mean when that investigation leads to the conclusion of common descent?

      “Simply asserting that there are none does not make it so, and many scientists believe that there /is/ such a [young-earth] model.”
      “So why are so few scientists sceptical of evolution?”

      First you state that ‘many’ scientists believe there is a young-earth model, then you ask why are so few scientists sceptical of evolution. It’s a bit inconsistent.

      Perhaps the reason why so few scientists are sceptical of evolution is because they feel that there is already enough evidence to support it.

      Like

  15. “First, None of those links do anything but support what I said.”

    Huh? You said that “Science doesn’t require observation of the phenomena or event in question. Science is in fact a method devised precisely because such observations are not practical, or possible even in principle.” Those links show—contrary to your claim—that observation is a key part of science. And you now argue that observations /are/ necessary, as I was saying all along.

    “If no witnesses are available to tell us who they saw kill Nicole Simpson, that doesn’t become then an unscientific question or even a less scientific question.”

    That depends on your definition “science”. If science requires observation, repeatibility, etc., then any investigation of the past is necessarily less scientific because the events cannot be repeated.

    “This is basic philosophy of science, and it’s a big red flag that one’s interlocutor is either not informed on the basics, or is trying to pull your leg when the objection is raised that “it wasn’t observed and isn’t repeatable so its non-scientific or less scientific”. That signals a fundamental misconception about science, or worse.”

    On your part or mine? You believe on my part, of course, but I believe on your part. So how do we tell who is right?

    “Is incorrect. The conclusions we draw are formed in such a way as to be testable, if we are pursuing knowledge.”

    What you are talking about here is not testing the events, but testing predictions made on the basis of the hypotheses. This is legitimate science, but one point is that alternative hypotheses might also predict the same outcomes. Another point is that in many cases the predictions have been shown to be wrong, but the evolutionary hypotheses survive anyway, because they are held by faith. More on this below.

    “…on your grounds we’re out of luck in terms of science, or open to “anything goes””

    Not so. Just because something can’t be determined empirically doesn’t mean that we can’t still have a good idea.

    “(CMBR), which was unknown and unverified at the time Gamow’s model produced the prediction … [Gamow] made very precise predictions about the distribution and temperature of the CMBR we should find if he was correct). As fans of physics and science know, Gamow’s predictions were confirmed in spectacular fashion some years later.”

    Despite what the fans “know”, this is not really the case, as explained here: http://creation.com/nobel-prize-for-alleged-big-bang-proof#_Ref43023168. For one, it’s incorrect to say that the radiation was unknonwn when he made the prediction. For another, it’s misleading to say that he made “very precise predictions” which were subsequently verified when he actually made a range of predictions, most of which were wrong, but one happened to be about right.

    “The point of that is, of course, that the conclusions like that in science which you say are not empirically testable, ARE in fact testable…”

    The events and their causes are not testable. Their /predictions/ are. But of course people can make correct predictions for the wrong reasons, so successful predictions are not the same as being able to scientifically test the events themselves.

    “You may not be able to test YOUR inferences, for this is the nature of many superstitions…”

    Excuse me? My inferences are not superstitions. And, even according to you, creationist claims are scientifically testable.

    “Third, “Nobody is interested in subverting science” is precisely the kind of disingenuous platitude I was referring to at the end of my last post.”

    Excuse me? That was a response to /your/ disingenuous platitude that creationists are trying to subvert science.

    “Why would we give such a naïve statement as that a pass?”

    Yes, why would I let such a naïve statement as yours pass without calling it?

    “Of course there are strong vested interests in subverting science.”

    Of course. Such as by atheists trying to explain how we came to be without God.

    “Science is the defeater for YEC beliefs…”

    Actually, it defeats evolutionary beliefs. See, I can argue by assertion too.

    “and thereby the defeater for the kind of simplistic literal interpretive frameworks for the Bible that depend on that.”

    There you go with another “disingenuous platitude”.

    “Why not just be honest and admit that science is a potent enemy of Young Earth beliefs?”

    Because that /wouldn’t/ be honest. Notice a pattern here? Your “argument” has degenerated into “I’m right; you’re wrong, so why won’t you admit it?”

    “Young Earth Creationist Kurt Wise, … had this to say…”

    Kurt Wise has a tendency to be frank to the point of being misleading, in my opinion. He seems to me to be saying that if all the /apparent/ evidence, or all the evidence /claimed by secular scientists/, was against creation, then he would still be a creationist /because God knows more than those scientists/. Creationist groups like CMI say essentially the same thing.

    But he does not appear to be saying what you are attributing to him—that “science is a potent enemy of Young Earth bliefs”. Rather, he’s saying that even if it /was/ an enemy, he would still be a creationist.

    “There are many ways to resolve other creationist beliefs that do not starkly contradict science.”

    Biblical creation does not contradict science. Unlike evolution which, for example. requires huge amounts of new genetic information, which the science says does not occur.

    “Kenneth Miller, and evolution proponent, and faithful Catholic…”

    A “faithful Catholic” who doesn’t believe what the Bible teaches about creation.

    “YEC beliefs …have been falsified as thoroughly as the idea of a flat earth.”

    Nonsense.

    “Given that, then OF COURSE there is a natural interest in subverting science.”

    The problem is that your claim (of an interest) is based on your premise (of YEC being disproved) which you haven’t demonstrated to be the case, and which I categorically reject.

    “… the cognitive dissonance that is Young Earth Creationism.”

    No cognitive dissonance at all.

    “Fourth, I think you misunderstood my point on the “tone”. Criticism is fine, and edifying.”

    I agree.

    “I’m not being sarcastic, or claiming you are somehow unable to understand what I’m saying…”

    Yet you are using words like “disingenuous platitude”, “simplistic”, “not … honest”, and “superstitions”. And that’s just from your last post.

    “Christianity, and more specifically Young Earth Creationism, as *ideas*, are problematic in their conceptual structure in such a way that it exerts highly negative effects on the owner…”

    Because you say so? Then how could it be that so many of the founders of science were YECs?

    “…in the same way being given everything one could want without having to work for it or earn it tends to corrupt one’s self-image and expectations about the world.”

    You mean like the belief that we are the result of a series of cosmic accidents, evolved pond scum, mere animals, tends to corrupt one’s self-image and expectations about the world?

    “These are wages of indulging in these kinds of superstitions.”

    If Christianity is a superstition, how do you explain that Christianity is an antidote to superstition (http://creation.com/superstition-vs-christianity)?

    I notice that you didn’t explain why scientists who are sceptical of evolution are marginalised, ridiculed, or even fired, if scepticism is a good thing.

    Like

    • Hi Phlilip,

      Off to work, so will just respond here quick to the item you wanted me to respond to above — scientists who marginalized, ridiculed, etc. Scientists are skeptical by nature; it’s a part of the epistemology and ingrained ih the method and practice of science. If you aren’t applying skepticism, you aren’t thinking scientifically.

      But I think you are equivocating on skepticism, here. When Ken Ham doubts dating methods or homological connections drawn by science, it’s not skepticism in the scientific sense. It’s doubt that gets invoked as a defense mechanism for his cognitive dissonance, a way to deal with the stark conflict between evidence and the beliefs he desires to maintain.

      Skepticism in science rightly takes a brutally critical look at hypotheses, results, conclusions and inferences. But the objections are scientific one: “that claim of cold fusion contradicts the other tests and observations and models we have available… I’ll need to see more test results, and derived independently before I can get comfortable with such claims”. That is opposition that POINTS BACK TO SCIENCE, and SCIENTIFIC REASONING.

      “That contradicts the BIble, which I hold true above and beyond anything else, even and especially empirical evidence” is not skepticism in the scientific context. It’s anti-science.

      So when you have Ken Ham, or Henry Morris, or Safarti or John West or any of those apologists expressing skepticism, or Michael Behe or William Dembski as apologists-in-lab-coats expressing their “skepticism”, all you need to see to understand the reaction of the scientific community is look at the BASIS for the objection. Does it come from an identified conflict with the rest of science and its practice? Or does it come from arguments from incredulity, arguments from ignorance, and appeals to superstition? If the skepticism resonantes with “I just don’t see how new genetic information could be generated by impersonal process…. therefore God”, that rightly deserves strong criticism and ridicule from those who take scientific knowledge building seriously. That’s not scientific skepticism, but mysticism promoting denialism.

      Think of how a professor would or should fare as a professor in a major university teaching medicine, who decided that homeopathy was now the way to treat various maladies, and should be a principal feature of future doctor’s practices. There’s no evidence that supports that, but he’s “skeptical” of modern science. Modern science and medicine has plenty of shortcomings, and skepticism, as I said, is a crucial, necessary ingredient for progress, and maintaining the epistemology, but the homeopath’s “skepticism” is not an earnest skepticism, but rather just antagonism to an ideology that is a menace to one’s desired beliefs. It’s a “manufactured skepticism” in that sense.

      So, too, in the cases I’m aware of (for instance all the posturing and mischaracterization of the situations covered in the movie “Expelled”). Science is open to all comers and all challenges, but in terms of *scientific* challenges, not religious subversion. That kind of skepticism, religious dogma that must “doubt” science to preserve the dogma, should be soundly criticized and thoroughly discouraged.

      On the interests in subverting science, I did not need to decide or declare where the evidence comes down, although on examination, I think that is abundantly clear to any who look. It is enough to point out that *potentially*, science is a withering defeater for your young earth views. Whether or not that is the case is not the point. The point is that your views are AT RISK by the verdicts of scientific investigation, and so prior to any verdicts being levied one way or the other, you are inherently interested in protecting your treasured beliefs from this risk, and so you “doubt science” just because it has the potential to overturn what you most passionately will not countenance being overturned.

      Anyone reading your words can see this interest in your words. That you can’t even countenance Catholic interpretations of Genesis and the rest of Scripture sends a clear message that you are not even nominally fair in terms of approaching science. Your interest in protecting your superstitions. Been there, done that.

      That is the idea, the concept you have that tends to corrupt you as an honest dealer. As someone who can make fair judgements on the data, assess the performance of competing models, and follow the evidence where it leads.

      But you are either unaware of this, which seems a stretch, given the obviously intelligent and articulate mind at the source of your posts here, or simply letting your superstitions push you into being dishonest with us about your interests, the conflicts you are dealing with, and the value of “manufacturing skepticism” to preserve those superstitions.

      It’s quite apparent to anyone reading and thinking about this, which was the point I was trying to make, above.

      -TS

      Like

  16. If you stop spinning your wheels so much, you might gain some traction.

    You know, the following are true of almost everything you said in your last post:
    A) The claims (such as their views being based on ideology) are hypothetically feasible for creationists,
    B) But they are just as hypothetically feasible for evolutionists,
    C) Although feasible, you have failed to establish that they /are/ true for creationists,
    D) And you have failed to establish that they are not true for evolutionists.

    Essentially, you argue that creationist scepticism comes from ideology, not science, but imply that when atheists are sceptical of creation, that comes from science, not ideology. But given your complete lack of an argument for either, this amounts to nothing more than bigotry—creationists are ideologically, not scientifically, sceptical simply because they are creationists.

    ““That contradicts the BIble, which I hold true above and beyond anything else, even and especially empirical evidence” is not skepticism in the scientific context. It’s anti-science.”

    So what is this:
    “Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such an hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic” ( http://creation.com/a-designer-is-unscientificeven-if-all-the-evidence-supports-one )
    Notice that he’s saying that he would NOT go where the evidence leads? I suppose that’s the height of objectivity?

    “…all you need to see to understand the reaction of the scientific community is look at the BASIS for the objection.”

    Oh, I do. The basis is that the supernatural as an explanation has been ruled out a priori, as in that quote above. It’s not a scientific objection, it’s an ideological one.

    “If the skepticism resonantes with “I just don’t see how new genetic information could be generated by impersonal process…. therefore God”, that rightly deserves strong criticism and ridicule from those who take scientific knowledge building seriously.”

    Straw man. Creationists argue from what they know, not from what they don’t know.

    “…all the posturing and mischaracterization of the situations covered in the movie “Expelled””

    You mean all the false claims about the movie?

    “Science is open to all comers and all challenges, but in terms of *scientific* challenges, not religious subversion.”

    It should be, but in practice it’s not, where those challenges are to deeply held ideological beliefs such as materialism.

    “It is enough to point out that *potentially*, science is a withering defeater for your young earth views. ”

    You mean like it’s *potentially* also a withering defeater of evolution? Yet for some unexplained reason, you only apply these arguments one way.

    “…you are inherently interested in protecting your treasured beliefs from this risk”

    Just to reinforce my points B and D above, I’ll point out that this also applies to evolutionists.

    “That you can’t even countenance Catholic interpretations of Genesis and the rest of Scripture…”

    Some Catholics are also YECs. I’m not taking denominational sides here, as you imply.

    “As someone who can make fair judgements on the data, assess the performance of competing models, and follow the evidence where it leads.”

    This is what creationists do. But evolutionist (generally) won’t, because creationism is persona non grata in the mainstream scientific world. So you have misdirected your comment.

    In summary, one long argument that derides creationists with assertions that could equally apply to evolutionists, with no evidence whatsoever to back up your one-sided argument.

    You failed to address almost everything I put in my previous reply, in favour of this fact-free missive. You know the problem with wheel-spinning? You only dig yourself in deeper.

    Like

    • Hi, Philip,

      I am not Touchstone, but I thought I’d try responding to some of what you said.

      [So what is this:
      “Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such an hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic” ( http://creation.com/a-designer-is-unscientificeven-if-all-the-evidence-supports-one )
      Notice that he’s saying that he would NOT go where the evidence leads? I suppose that’s the height of objectivity?]

      That link you gave shows only one sentence, so I’m not sure what the context is. Is there a link to the article in question?

      When I read that sentence by Dr Todd (just on its own), I see it as his saying that it is ‘impossible’ to come up with a scientific hypothesis that includes the idea of a Designer, because that is not how scientific hypotheses are made.

      Like

  17. I don’t have a link to the full article.

    It’s only “impossible” if one /chooses/ to exclude supernatural explanations for ideological reasons. Surely science is an attempt to come up with /correct/ explanations, no matter what they might be. And if any explanations are ruled out a priori, then how is one to have faith in science being able to come up with correct explanations?

    Richard Lewontin admits why it is “impossible”—because of an a priori ideological stance (a commitment to materialism):

    “It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”

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  18. It’s an epistemic requirement, the constraints Lewontin and scientists the world over demand. As soon as you allow “supernatural” to play a role in your explanations, your epistemology is worthless. The whole knowledge framework falls apart. The commitment is not to materialism, but naturalism, and not “metaphysical naturalism”, but “methodological naturalism” — natural explanations and models for natural phenomena.

    It’s mistaken to think that science is an attempt to come up with “correct” explanations, if you think “correct” includes anything but strictly natural explanations. It doesn’t. Why you would assert that with a “surely” as an intensifier I don’t know, but as soon as you try to smuggle in something supernatural in under the guise of “correct”, something even just a little bit supernatural or external to natural modeling, THE ENTIRE EPISTEMOLOGY OF SCIENCE COLLAPSES, and sciences becomes as vapid and epistemically impotent as theology.

    Lewontin and the rest of the science community are not being capricious. The only reason science is performative AT ALL is that it has stood vigilant guard against the “surely science…” nonsense that would destroy what knowledge it has garnered for humanity thus far.

    People complain regularly to me with the quote you provided. To do is serves only to signal a profound misunderstanding of how sicence works in practice, and what scientific epistemology rests crucially upon. Your divine foot in the door would be the death knell for performative, empirical science.

    Given that, it’s good to “keep the demons out”, wouldn’t you agree?

    -TS

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    • Your first paragraph (and much of your post) is merely assertion, an arbitrary condition imposed by atheists. The founders of science saw no such constraint.

      “It’s mistaken to think that science is an attempt to come up with “correct” explanations, if you think “correct” includes anything but strictly natural explanations. It doesn’t.”

      Huh? Why? Why should science arbitrarily exclude what could be the correct explanation. To put it another way, suppose for the sake of argument that God really did create the world as described in the Bible. If that was the case, why should science be forbidden proposing that as an explanation for how the world came to be.

      “I don’t know, but as soon as you try to smuggle in something supernatural …”

      I’m not smuggling in something supernatural. You are excluding it arbitrarily. I’m merely asking why, if it’s the correct explanation, science shouldn’t acknowledge that.

      “People complain regularly to me with the quote you provided. To do is serves only to signal a profound misunderstanding of how sicence works in practice,…”

      Nonsense. It’s to /recognise/ how scientists work in practice and to point out the fallacy of it.

      “Your divine foot in the door would be the death knell for performative, empirical science.”

      And yet, despite your unsubstantiated assertion, that is precisely what science was (and is) based on. Paul Davies said “So science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological world view.”.

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      • Philip, there *were* no founders of science in any authoritative or binding science. Science is only and precisely as “correct” as it is explanatory AND performative in the explanations it provides.

        It matters not what superstitions Newton had — and he had a lot of ‘out there’ ones – or which forms of mysticism Leucippus indulged or promoted. Science goes no farther than what it can demonstrate, emprically, predictively, explanatorily.

        So no “founder’s laws” are needed or relevant: that’s a religiously credulous and magical-thinking way approach science. Develop your hypothesis, formulate your means for testing, falsification, and validation through empirical means, and show your work for all to judge objectively.

        That’s how science grounds its epistemology, by simply pointing to what performs, what works objectively in real-world testing and trial.

        That’s also why the supernatural , even a little bit of it (and note here for all Newton’s crazy superstitions, perfectly NONE of them are incorporated into his laws of motion — this is not an accident or a coincidence), debases the entire enterprise, every bit of it.

        Any easy way for you to see the folly of your own words up-thread is to considering *doing* science the way you espouse — as the practice of witchcraft. I encourage you to apply your witchcraft, and indulge your superstitions, especially the ones that seem the “most correct” to you.

        How will that work for you, do you suppose? How will appeals to the supernatural fare in terms of objective, empirical performance? For example, if you want to advance the hypothesis that an “intelligent designer” physically intervened on earth to create biological life, and that this designer is “supernatural”, imagine how you would show that, empirically. Imagine how you would falsify your hypothesis. Imagine how you would demonstrate your hypothesis empirically.

        You and I and Kathy and anyone else reading this now from the start that is a farce. It’s a non-starter. It’s not possible, even in principle. Because if you COULD actually substantiate your epistemology, it WOULD NOT BE SUPERNATURAL, by definition. If you could do what science does, your concepts of God, angels, demons or whatever other magical ideas you hold to, would become NATURAL ideas as soon as they held up to empirical analysis and real-world testing.

        On the practice of science, I encourage you to just find your local professor in one f the hard sciences at your nearest university and ask her or him. Or ask ten of the professors there. Print my post here out and ask them if they agree with your magical-thinking advocacy, or natural explanations for natural phenomena.

        That may not be “theologically correct”, or otherwise appealing to your desires and wishes, but “correct” as a flimsy, meaningless, untestable concept is NOT how science is practice, and demonstrably NOT part of the epistemology that underwrites the science we have that is successful and performative.

        -TS

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  19. “Philip, there *were* no founders of science in any authoritative or binding science.:

    Nevertherless, given that your claim was mere assertion, the fact that they didn’t have your views does suggest that you are incorrect.

    “:Science is only and precisely as “correct” as it is explanatory AND performative in the explanations it provides.”

    So if a supernatural explanation is explanatory and performative, why shouldn’t it be considered?

    “Science goes no farther than what it can demonstrate, emprically, predictively, explanatorily.”

    So again, if a supernatural explanation works, why should it be excluded?

    “Develop your hypothesis, formulate your means for testing, falsification, and validation through empirical means, and show your work for all to judge objectively.”

    So if I do that with a supernatural explanation, why should it be excluded?

    “That’s how science grounds its epistemology, by simply pointing to what performs, what works objectively in real-world testing and trial.”

    So if a scientist can do that with a supernatural explanation, why should it be excluded?

    “That’s also why the supernatural , even a little bit of it … debases the entire enterprise, every bit of it.”

    Huh? What reason was that? You haven’t given one yet.

    “Any easy way for you to see the folly of your own words up-thread is to considering *doing* science the way you espouse…”

    So if some scientists /do/ to that (and they do), and no folly ensues (it doesn’t), why should it be excluded?

    “For example, if you want to advance the hypothesis that an “intelligent designer” physically intervened on earth to create biological life, and that this designer is “supernatural”, imagine how you would show that, empirically.”

    That’s easy (given that it’s already been done): Find evidence of a code, a non-random, non repeating sequence, that could not be the product of natural intelligence. The DNA is such a code.

    “Imagine how you would falsify your hypothesis.”
    By showing empirically that natural forces can produce such a code. So far nobody has been able to.

    “If you could do what science does, your concepts of God, angels, demons or whatever other magical ideas you hold to, would become NATURAL ideas as soon as they held up to empirical analysis and real-world testing.”

    Because…?

    “On the practice of science, I encourage you to just find your local professor in one f the hard sciences at your nearest university and ask her or him.”

    I don’t need to. I already know numerous creationary scientists, who would disagree with you.

    So most of your claims in your last post are unsubstantiated (you have /still/ not explained why a supernatural explanation should be excluded; merely assumed/asserted it), or merely your opinion (I know scientists who disagree), and you have failed to answer my questions in my previous post, including explaining why a supernatural explanation should be outside the bounds of science if it is the correct explanation.

    And, again, you resort to insulting creationists with terms like “magical thinking”, “superstitions”, “witchcraft”.

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  20. I did explain clearly why supernatural answers are anti-science: it violates the constraint that makes its epistemology cohere — natural explanations. If a science has to invoke nature — through observation, and models that most conform to nature and perform naturally, there is then an objective, intersubjective basis for evaluating knowledge claims.

    This is the foundation of scientific knowledge. If you add in elements of the supernatural, the integrity of that epistemology completely collapses, as there is now no constraint to grounding the claims in nature, and consequently, knowledge claims become supernaturalized: unaccountable, untestable, unfalsifiable, perfectly subjective, non-empirical.

    Debased down to being theology, in other words.

    But I repeat myself. If you want to just ignore what I say, suit yourself, but please don’t suggest I haven’t explained the basis of the objection.

    You say:

    “So if a supernatural explanation is explanatory and performative, why shouldn’t it be considered?”

    It shouldn’t. But as soon as it becomes performative and explanatory, IT’S NO LONGER SUPERNATURAL as an explanation, by definition. “Supernatural” is a label we apply to concepts which imagine entities or processes (and even here we have to steal natural concepts to just talk about them analogically) that are BEYOND (hence the “super” in “supernatural”) natural dynamics. That means beyond our physics, beyond what empirical methods can address, and comprehend.

    So your supernatural answer IS not and CANNOT BE performative, as if it were, it would not be a supernatural answer, but a natural answer. In the process of establishing its performance, we would be necessarily naturalizing it as an explanation.

    For example, if we are someday to happen upon a bounty of evidence (maybe a visit from those folks) of an alien race of beings who came to earth and “seeded” the earth with DNA and the bootstrapping elements for biological life, we would then have new explanatory resources, and performative ones (insofar as the evidence we have supports their historic capabilities and actual interaction with Earth’s biosystem) for an “intelligent designer”.

    But it then ceases to be a supernatural explanation, and becomes a natural one, by virtue of acquiring explanations and evidence for some “design event” in natural terms. Your superstitions about a supernatural God as a designer still remain anti-science, because they are perfectly corruptive of any natural, performative model we may consider. Once a supernatural god is in the explanatory chain, untestable, incapable of being modeled, predicted, measured, falsified, etc. science collapses. Not out of any emotional or political anxieties from scientist, but *logically*; science as science becomes incoherent as soon as that divine foot gets just a toe in the door.

    This doesn’t mean you can’t keep your superstitions. You can and you will. Just please don’t try to corrupt the integrity of scientific epistemology with them, pretending mystical notions of ‘correctness’ are not the debasing element they are for science.

    If you look at your insistence that an “Intelligent Designer” would be falsified if we showed some chemical pathway from inorganic materials to organic life (i.e. abiogenesis), that is a very good example of the anti-epistemology that superstition introduces.

    Even if such a pathway were shown, it does not and cannot falsify the hypothesis. God then, to the credulous, must be “orchestrating the process”, because even if we can see it happen, that just doesn’t happen on its own. It cannot, we just know it, or so goes the superstition.

    So your intelligent designer idea is alive and well, and in fact cannot be falsified, even in principle. Even if we could somehow know the physical dynamics all the way from t=0 to the point of the first reproductive, metabolizing cells on earth, the intelligent designer idea CANNOT AND WILL NOT BE FALSIFIED, because it’s not a falsifiable idea. Even at that point, the intelligent designer is just incorporated by the superstitious as “the one who made the Big Bang happen, and who operates supernaturally behind the things we can observe to make his plans for creating man and all life come together according to his glorious, sovereign will”.

    That’s the rub. Such superstitions are perfectly immune to science and knowledge, no matter how far science goes. They are perfectly anti-science. And to the extent they get incorporated into science, they conquer it, and destroy it. Superstition is not beholden to the burdens and constraints like science is, and science cannot compete against it. Science has to rectify its claims against objective, demonstrable models. It has to cooperate with nature and observations.

    Superstition is not so bound. It is unaccountable, detached and autonomous, and need not even take heed of the evidence or objective, performative models, let alone submit to them. So when science and superstition compete in the same arena, science cannot hope to stand. It is at a strategic disadvantage against superstition because it demands something rigorous and objective from itself.

    -TS

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  21. “I did explain clearly why supernatural answers are anti-science: … but please don’t suggest I haven’t explained the basis of the objection.”

    Your explanation amounted to saying that creationism is anti-science because science can’t include creationism. That “explanation” amounts to a reassertion, not an explanation.

    “it violates the constraint that makes its epistemology cohere — natural explanations.”

    Why can’t supernatural explanations cohere? Again, you’re simply making unexplained assertions.

    “This is the foundation of scientific knowledge.”

    The foundation of scientific knowledge is that we were created by a rational Creator who created a rational universe and us as rational, intelligent, observers. Without that foundation, science couldn’t operate. And that, historically, IS one of the reasons that science got started.

    “If you add in elements of the supernatural, the integrity of that epistemology completely collapses, as there is now no constraint to grounding the claims in nature…”

    That’s a circular argument. If you add in the supernatural, it’s no longer grounded in the natural. Err, yes, but why can’t it be grounded in the supernatural? Given, as I’ve said, that was (and is) the philosophical basis for doing science.

    “…consequently, knowledge claims become supernaturalized: unaccountable, untestable, unfalsifiable, perfectly subjective, non-empirical.”

    If this was really the case, then you couldn’t claim (as you have already) that creationism has been falsified. Yet some of creationism CAN be falsified, so your claim is itself falsified.

    “But as soon as it becomes performative and explanatory, IT’S NO LONGER SUPERNATURAL as an explanation, by definition.”

    Huh? Something doesn’t BECOME natural by becoming explanatory. It either always was or never was. You are avoiding the question, which was “So if a supernatural explanation is explanatory and performative, why shouldn’t it be considered?”

    I guess you could be implying that if something is supernatural, it CAN’T be explanatory and performative, but you have not shown how, simply asserted this by declaring it to be so by some anonymous definition.

    ““Supernatural” is a label we apply to concepts which imagine entities or processes (and even here we have to steal natural concepts to just talk about them analogically) that are BEYOND (hence the “super” in “supernatural”) natural dynamics. That means beyond our physics, beyond what empirical methods can address, and comprehend.”

    But not beyond what WE can address and comprehend. And, you miss the point anyway. I’m not claiming that the supernatural can be empirically measured. I’m claiming that an /explanation/ that involves the supernatural acting /in nature/ would include effects that can be empirically observed and measured.

    “So your supernatural answer IS not and CANNOT BE performative, as if it were, it would not be a supernatural answer, but a natural answer.”

    No it wouldn’t. See my previous paragraph.

    “Once a supernatural god is in the explanatory chain, untestable, incapable of being modeled, predicted, measured, falsified, etc. science collapses.”

    Again, see my answer above. We don’t need complete empirical chains to do science. Archaeologists, for example, can determine that an artefact is the product of intelligent beings without establishing who those beings were.

    “For example, if we are someday to happen upon a bounty of evidence … of an alien race … who … “seeded” the earth with DNA and the bootstrapping elements for biological life, we would then have new explanatory resources, and performative ones … for an “intelligent designer”.

    This example actually serves to illustrate the bias of evolutionists. Even Richard Dawkins has admitted that the idea of intelligent design is, /in principle/, legitimate. ID proponents very explicitly do not invoke God as part of their explanation (that some do as personal opinions is not relevant here), and point out that intelligent aliens are theoretical candidates for the designer. Yet ardent evolutionists refuse to give ID legitimacy because it clearly implies the supernatural. So here you have a potentially-supernatural explanation which is legitimate science (i.e. can, in principle, by studied scientifically without being able to study the designer), but is rejected as such—as you are here rejecting creationism—on atheist-serving manufactured objections.

    “This doesn’t mean you can’t keep your superstitions. You can and you will. Just please don’t try to corrupt the integrity of scientific epistemology with them,…”

    As you can keep your “superstitions” (to use your word) that nothing can create everything. You can and you will. Just please don’t try to corrupt the integrity of scientific epistemology with them. See, I can make those sorts of loaded comments too.

    “If you look at your insistence that an “Intelligent Designer” would be falsified if we showed some chemical pathway from inorganic materials to organic life (i.e. abiogenesis), that is a very good example of the anti-epistemology that superstition introduces.”

    That’s not exactly what I said, as I’ll get to in a moment. There’s also the small matter that the same criticism can be made of evolutionists.

    “Even if such a pathway were shown, it does not and cannot falsify the hypothesis. God then, to the credulous, must be “orchestrating the process””

    Here you are wrong, because the hypothesis is not that “God did it”, but that He did it /in a particular way/, specifically (for example), He created over a period of six days only a few thousand years ago. This is what many anti-creationists don’t get. Creationists make SPECIFIC claims that are as open to being falsified as any unique past event can be. It is very specifically NOT a vague “God did it” claim that could be invoked no matter what the evidence.

    “Even at that point, the intelligent designer is just incorporated by the superstitious as “the one who made the Big Bang happen, and who operates supernaturally behind the things we can observe to make his plans for creating man and all life come together according to his glorious, sovereign will”.”

    What you are describing here is not YECs (who reject such claims), but people such as theistic evolutionists. I’m not sure exactly where Kathy stands, but I gather that she is an evolutionist and a Christian, so presumably she believes that God caused the Big Bang (whether directly or indirectly), so it is her, not me, that you are labelling as “superstitious”.

    And, as I mentioned, there’s the small matter of evolution itself not being falsifiable. Many specific claims of evolution have been falsified, but the hypothesis lives on, as (like you claim for Christians), it can be modified seemingly infinitely. Haldane said that evolution could never produce wheels or magnets, but both have been found in nature. Evolution said that grass evolved after dinosaurs died out, but grass has been found in dinosaur coprolites. Evolution says that flowering plants originated in the Cretaceous, yet fossil pollen has been found in the Precambrian. Evolution says that dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago, yet unfossilised biological material, such as blood vessels and blood cells, have been found, and they could not last that long.

    Many people have claimed to me that evolution could be falsified by finding rabbits in the Precambrian, or dinosaurs alive today, but the examples I gave, and many others that could be cited, show that such things would not actually serve to falsify evolution.

    “Such superstitions are perfectly immune to science and knowledge, no matter how far science goes.”

    You mean like evolution?

    “Superstition is not so bound. It is unaccountable, detached and autonomous, and need not even take heed of the evidence or objective, performative models, let alone submit to them. So when science and superstition compete in the same arena, science cannot hope to stand. It is at a strategic disadvantage against superstition because it demands something rigorous and objective from itself.”

    Why do you keep referring to Christianity as superstition when I’ve pointed out that Christianity is an antidote to superstition?

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  22. ‘Evolution says that dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago, yet unfossilised biological material, such as blood vessels and blood cells, have been found, and they could not last that long.’

    Would that be the find by Mary Schweitzer?

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      • Have you read up on Mary Schweitzer and her discovery?

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      • Yes, I’ve read up on it. Why?

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      • I’m surprised you would mention it as an example of evolution being falsified.

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      • Given that it does appear to falsify evolution*, why would that surprise you?

        *—assuming, of course, that evolution can be falsified. And that was my point—it can’t be, because it’s so flexible it can be used to explain anything, just as anti-creationists wrongly** accuse creationists of being. I do accept, however, that one falsified detail in a large claim should not falsify the entire claim. But this example is simply one of many problems, not an isolated exception.

        **—wrongly, as I’ve explained, because the creationist claim is not a vague “God did it” one, where anything can be ascribed to God, but a fairly specific one where specific claims are made about what God did.

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      • ‘I do accept, however, that one falsified detail in a large claim should not falsify the entire claim. But this example is simply one of many problems, not an isolated exception.’

        Okay.

        Since we are neither of us scientists, I will defer to the scientists to argue it out.

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      • “Since we are neither of us scientists, I will defer to the scientists to argue it out.”

        I’m curious as to why you are prepared to take the side of the evolutionary scientists over the creationary scientists on most matters, but on this one you are happy to leave it to the scientists to argue out.

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  23. I find myself curious too Kathy….

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  24. This is in relation to Philip’s comment (Monday, 19th September, 2011 at 1:21 pm). I’m sorry this ended up here underneath the relevant comment thread! :o) I’m not very familiar with navigating the comments sections!

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  25. Hi, Marion. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. I have made it so that the comments section is only 3 deep. Otherwise, the columns get too narrow. To get your comment to appear under the relevant section, click on the Reply of the last person with a Reply button appearing. Hope that makes sense. (Ultimately, it doesn’t matter because I can work it out!)

    To me, it’s not a case of evolutionary scientists vs creation scientists.

    If there are any arguments/disagreements within the scientific community (and there ARE) on ANY issue I will let the scientists debate the issues. I am talking about scientists who follow the proper path, namely, finding and publishing results in peer-reviewed journals.

    And to be honest, I think the jury is already in: those bones are 68-million years old.

    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/dinosaur.html?c=y&page=1

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    • Not wishing to side track you Kathy, but can I just suggest that I feel there is an inherent danger with setting such a narrow and rigid ruling for what constitutes a “proper path”. Regardless of the field (particular area of discovery and adventure) being referred to, medicine/science/psychology/theology/mathematics/art/language/etc/etc, I believe that history would bear out our tendency as human beings towards shoving our shoulders together to block out something, or someone, that is going against the current popular grain. Or perhaps goes against those who have the political sway, or financial sway, and so forth.

      God will bring forth wisdom and revelation through whoever He pleases. That much is made abundantly clear time and again throughout scripture. And I feel I can be fairly sure that He won’t be running it by the peer-reviewed journal peoples for their permission and say so first. Whilst such tools as peer-reviewed (thingamy’s) can be valuable within what I would see as their limited scope, to keep a measure of accountability, they are also just as vulnerable to becoming vehicles that would resist true accountability, and be influenced by the sinful heart of man in their outworking.

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      • ‘Whilst such tools as peer-reviewed (thingamy’s) can be valuable within what I would see as their limited scope, to keep a measure of accountability, they are also just as vulnerable to becoming vehicles that would resist true accountability, and be influenced by the sinful heart of man in their outworking.’

        I’m almost afraid to ask this: What constitutes ‘true accountability’ and how does one determine whether or not something has been ‘influenced by the sinful heart of man’?

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      • “To me, it’s not a case of evolutionary scientists vs creation scientists.”

        Yet a major theme of this blog is evoutionists vs. creationists!

        “If there are any arguments/disagreements within the scientific community (and there ARE) on ANY issue I will let the scientists debate the issues.”

        But the question remains, why on /this/ issue, but not other creation/evolution issues?

        “I am talking about scientists who follow the proper path, namely, finding and publishing results in peer-reviewed journals.”

        Now we seem to be getting down the nittty gritty, although you don’t come straight out and say that you don’t consider creationary scientists as proper scientists.

        Creationary scientists are frequently not allowed to publish in mainstream journals, simply because they are creationists. Many have published, at least if their creationist views are not known or not evident, but some have even been refused in those cases. As for actually being allowed to argue a creationary view in such journals, there are howls of protest whenever it happens. A creationist was allowed to publish an article in an Australian journal, and the outcry led to the journal removing the article from its web-site. Similar applies to ID (which critics conflate with creationism). When the Journal of the Biological Society of Washington published a pro-ID paper, the howls of protest—including false accusations that it has bypassed peer-review—led to them not only disowning the paper, but promising to not publish anything pro-ID again (not to mention the editor losing privileges and being demonised). Note that—they did not say that in future they would be more careful about making sure such papers had proper peer-review or etc.—they said that they would not publish it /if it was pro-ID/.

        This sort of discrimination has led creationists to start their own peer-review journals, but of course the bigoted evolutionists don’t consider these legitimate simply because they are creationist (I even had one person say to me about the Creation Research Society Quarterly that the name was enough to show that it wasn’t legitimate).

        “I think the jury is already in: those bones are 68-million years old.”

        Of course the /evolutionary/ view is already in. They refuse to consider any alternative to evolution. The secular scientific evidence, however, is that such material could not possibly last that long, which is why there was a controversy over this research in the first place (including one of Schweitzer’s reviewers refusing to believe her research, saying that nothing would convince him). The only reason they now think that it could last 68 million years is that (a) it exists, and (b) their evolutionary worldview says that it must be that old. A more scientific approach would be (a) it exists, (b) secular research shows that it can’t last 68 million years, so (c) it can’t be 68 million years old.

        “…how does one determine whether or not something has been ‘influenced by the sinful heart of man’?”

        One way is to see if it conforms to the true revelation God has provided. Unless, of course, you use claims of non-empirical secular “science” to judge how you should read the Bible.

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      • Philip said:
        ‘Yet a major theme of this blog is evoutionists vs. creationists!’

        yewnique:
        My blog explores evolution and young-earth creationism.

        Philip:
        ‘Now we seem to be getting down the nittty gritty, although you don’t come straight out and say that you don’t consider creationary scientists as proper scientists.’

        yewniqe:
        If a person has a science qualification and/or works in the sciences, then he/she is a scientist.

        Philip:
        ‘Creationary scientists are frequently not allowed to publish in mainstream journals, simply because they are creationists. Many have published, at least if their creationist views are not known or not evident, but some have even been refused in those cases.’

        yewnique:
        What were their articles on?

        Philip:
        ‘When the Journal of the Biological Society of Washington published a pro-ID paper, the howls of protest—including false accusations that it has bypassed peer-review—led to them not only disowning the paper, but promising to not publish anything pro-ID again (not to mention the editor losing privileges and being demonised). Note that—they did not say that in future they would be more careful about making sure such papers had proper peer-review or etc.—they said that they would not publish it /if it was pro-ID/.’

        yewnique:
        Do you mean Richard Sternberger?

        Philip:
        ‘This sort of discrimination has led creationists to start their own peer-review journals, but of course the bigoted evolutionists don’t consider these legitimate simply because they are creationist ‘

        yewnique:
        Are non-Creationists or other-type Creationists allowed to publish in these journals?

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  26. Kathy:
    “To me, it’s not a case of evolutionary scientists vs creation scientists.”
    me:
    “Yet a major theme of this blog is evoutionists vs. creationists!”
    Kathy:
    “My blog explores evolution and young-earth creationism.”

    ‘Explores’ is downplaying it. It criticises YEC and promotes evolution. So how can you say that “it’s not a case of evolutionary scientists vs creation scientists.”?

    “If a person has a science qualification and/or works in the sciences, then he/she is a scientist.”

    Good. Let’s recap:
    “If there are any arguments/disagreements within the scientific community (and there ARE) on ANY issue I will let the scientists debate the issues. I am talking about scientists who follow the proper path, namely, finding and publishing results in peer-reviewed journals.”

    As you have now agreed that creationary scientists are scientists (at the very least, they have science qualifications), then the question remains unanswered: Why let the scientists debate /this/ issue (Schweitzer’s research) but take a stand on other issues that evolutionary and creationary scientists disagree on?

    “What were their articles on?”
    All sorts of areas of science.

    “Do you mean Richard Sternberger?”
    Richard Sternberg was the editor involved.

    “Are non-Creationists or other-type Creationists allowed to publish in these journals?”
    I’m sure that there are no restriction on who can publish in them that are related to their beliefs.

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    • Philip:
      [This blog] criticises YEC and promotes evolution. So how can you say that “it’s not a case of evolutionary scientists vs creation scientists.”?

      yewnique:
      YEC and evolution are ideas and concepts. Scientists are people.

      When you say ‘Creation Scientist’ I take it you mean someone who not only holds to a Biblical YEC view, but does ‘Creation Science’. Am I right?

      Scientists are people who hold a qualification in the sciences and/or work in the sciences. Scientists may be Creationists (in the broad sense of the term), but that does not make them Creation Scientists, ‘merely’ scientists who also happen to be Creationists.

      Creation Science is not science – it is pseudoscience. So, Creation Science may very well have scientists working in that field, but that doesn’t make Creation Science a science.

      It’s like a person who gets a medical degree and license to practice medicine, but decides to do Alternative Medicine instead. Is he still a doctor? Yes. Is what he is doing Medicine? No.

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      • You may want to rethink the “medicine” example Kathy. ‘Medicine: a. The science of diagnosing, treating, or preventing disease and other damage to the body or mind.
        b. The branch of this science encompassing treatment by drugs, diet, exercise, and other nonsurgical means.”

        Clearly the doctor who takes a holistic approach to medicine is still ‘doing medicine” in every legitimate sense of the word. It’s probably not the best analogy to try and make your point with.

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      • Okay, Marion. I know you are into Alternative Medicine.

        But I think you get my point.

        Like

      • “YEC and evolution are ideas and concepts. Scientists are people.”
        True, but that doesn’t explain why you would leave one creation/evolution issue to the scientists and not all the others that you take on here.

        “I take it you mean someone who not only holds to a Biblical YEC view, but does ‘Creation Science’. Am I right?”
        Probably not, but that depends on what you mean by “does Creation Science”. What I meant was a scientists who is a creationist, as opposed to a scientists who is an evolutionist.

        “Scientists may be Creationists (in the broad sense of the term), but that does not make them Creation Scientists, ‘merely’ scientists who also happen to be Creationists.”
        It does if the science is the reason that they became creationists, as is often the case.

        “Creation Science is not science – it is pseudoscience.” You mean like evolutionary science?

        “So, Creation Science may very well have scientists working in that field, but that doesn’t make Creation Science a science.”
        Evolution may very well have scientists working in that field, but that doesn’t make evolution a science. See, I can make pointless assertions like that too.

        “It’s like a person who gets a medical degree and license to practice medicine, but decides to do Alternative Medicine instead. Is he still a doctor? Yes. Is what he is doing Medicine? No.”
        No? Why not? Because of some arbitrary designation that “alternative” means “non-scientific”, or because he’s not actually doing science? If the latter, you’ve merely assumed/asserted that (with regard to creationism), not shown it. Bald assertions don’t make good argument.

        Marion: “Clearly the doctor who takes a holistic approach to medicine is still ‘doing medicine” in every legitimate sense of the word.”
        Kathy’s point is that they are no longer doing /science/, not that they are no longer doing medicine. And she might be right. But she just might be wrong; she’s simply asserted that they are not; she hasn’t explained why they are not.

        The point is that “science” is a particular methodology for learning facts about the world we live in. If that research leads to a conclusion that we were created—or that particular “alternative” medicines are objectively valid—then that doesn’t disqualify it as science, unless, like most anti-creationists, one starts with the conclusion that the explanation must be a naturalistic one.

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  27. I don’t know why anyone would focus on fossils and evolution when debating someone that believes in YEC anyway. If you want to see a YEC really have to twist and contort ask why we can visually see light from star V12 in galaxy NGC 4203 at a distance of approximately 10 million light years. That means, to “naturalistic” explanation, light we see from that star started its travel over 10 million years ago. No supernatural explanation necessary, and when you insert one it starts to make things significantly more complicated, not less.

    YECs will give you some obfuscation about the speed of light not being constant, but for it to be *so variable* as to compress 10 million years into 6,000 years? Anyone (besides me) calculate what kind of factor that’d be? Awesome. AiG talks some crap about uncertainties in the current proposed models of inflation after the Big Bang which is nothing more than trying to shoot holes in someone else’s theory (not as wholly unsupported by current cosmic observation as AiG would have you believe) rather than come up with a good explanation for how you squeeze 10 million into 6,000 and still keep the Universe together.

    Also I’m tired of hearing the phrase “Creationist scientist”. It’s a total oxymoron. Science is about taking data points and turning them into theories (and if you attack the underlying assumptions of science be prepared to then go through the gyrations of why all science isn’t invalid when in fact we rely upon it for just about everything today, including our lives and livelihoods). Creationism is about starting with conclusions, looking at real scientific data, cherry-picking what they want and deny the rest. It is an insult to the grueling work of scientists to call what AiG, Discovery Institute and the like do “science”.

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  28. yewnique, if you don’t frequent io9.com, you really should. It’s one of the best geekly places online to find out about some of the coolest new discoveries and research going on. This one was posted yesterday:

    http://io9.com/5867033/why-is-the-universe-pointing-in-one-direction

    Even though it will be even cooler to live in the far future (when Jesus will still not have returned), living in the now is pretty awesome! Way more awesomer than before, anyway.

    Now, it’s true io9.com has a bunch of stuff about movies and comics and science fiction and stuff, but if you want to jump straight to physics their “Ask a physicist” series is great:

    http://io9.com/ask-a-physicist/

    Like

  1. Pingback: What Young-Earth Creationists Believe | A Yewnique Life

  2. Pingback: Creation Science | A Yewnique Life

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