Jon was teaching. And I doubt that anyone else is sorry. But I certainly agree that he will not get a relevant response.
When people regularly make claims that the scientific academy is wrong while their fringe group has the correct understanding of the evidence and what it means, it is entirely appropriate to expect testing, the application of the Scientific Method followed by publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Instead, there will be no such response.
It’s a very old story. I’ve been observing it for much of my life.
In what way is he fishing and trolling? His answer sounded perfectly reasonable to me.
Assumptions are simply preconditions which may be met some of the time but not others. YEC arguments claim that the assumptions behind dating methods can not be tested because nobody was there to test them as they happened, but this is not true. Assumptions can be tested simply by cross-checking the results of multiple dating methods whose assumptions are independent of each other. If these methods disagree, the assumptions were not met. If the methods agree, then either the assumptions were met, or else it was a coincidence. If there are more than just a handful of agreements, the probability of a coincidence becomes vanishingly small.
The number of agreements recorded in the scientific literature runs into the hundreds of thousands.
Of course, this is exactly why holding to a young earth viewing absolutely requires a lack of knowledge of the many independent methods of determining age. The silly “fossils are dated by the rocks and the rocks are dated by the fossils in them” argument actually sounds sensible to someone who is ignorant of dendrochronology, varves, ice cores, basic geology, plate techtonics, mutations, comparative genomics, atomic clocks, and so much more! The power of consilience is misunderstood as “circular reasoning” for someone who knows nothing of the science.
Sadly, the non-Christian paleontologists, geneticists, comparative anatomists, geologists, and physicists I know who have read these lame young earth arguments (such as “101 Evidences for a Young Earth”) come away with one or both of these conclusions: “You Christians are ignorant or terribly dishonest. Or both.” And yes, because I’m a born-again Christian, I get lumped in with the young earthers and have to explain that Young Earth Creationists who make such ridiculous pseudo-science arguments are just our science-challenged fringe—and that every group tends to have a lamentable fringe.
Let’s all consider the cost that arises whenever we insist on associating our favorite traditions with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Is it worth it? Should we be undermining our own credibility?
Precisely. That’s why I take care to emphasise that we’re talking about assumptions which are independent of each other.
One of the most interesting ones I’ve seen is how rates of continental drift have been measured both by radiometric dating and by direct GPS measurements. The figures are exactly the same within error bars just about everywhere. I’ve no idea how anyone can get circular reasoning out of that one.
I’ve always loved the example of the Hawaiian Islands. Just with the naked eye it is so easy to see how the volcanic island chain is growing. And as you tour the islands, you can notice the differences in geologic time, new rock versus old. You can easily notice the differences in accumulated erosion. And a trained naturalist can easily spot the different “maturities” of ecosystems. And an expert in comparative genomics can measure the growing diversity at the molecular level and the phylogenetic trees at all levels.
Young Earth Creationists have long preferred focusing on just one obscure phenomenon, such as polonium halos in granite, because they hope that their science-ignorant audiences will not be screaming at the Youtube video screen, “But what about the thousands and thousands of other types of evidence which is overwhelming!? Why are you obsessing on one obscure issue that you don’t understand----but physicists actually figured out yeas ago—while ignoring what so many scientists spent years researching and publishing?”
We do a poor job, actually, of giving our science majors a good grounding in the history of science and why consilience is so important and overwhelming.
So the next time you hear a Young Earth Creationist complain about “those silly scientists are engaging in circular reasoning”, try to be kind to them and patiently explain to them why they need to stop getting their pseudo-science educations at AIG, ICR, and CMI. This nonsense is harming the Body of Christ and making us look foolish for the wrong reasons: We are ONLY told to appear foolish because of the foolishness of the cross of Jesus Christ----not because we are fools in refusing to learn basic science.
Yes, we can grant that - in order for Adam to have been created as a fully grown and functional man, as the story requires - he must have had the weight, height, musculature, body fat, bone density, brain development, and so on that are functionally required to be a mature human male.
But would the enamel on his teeth, the day he was created, need to have been created to look worn-down just as much as if he had eaten thousands of meals previously in life? Did he need to be created with memories of his past, food in his stomach, waste in his excretory system, untrimmed fingernails and toenails, and tough leathery soles on his feet from the apparent accumulated pounding of thousands of days of walking? Surely not.
But those are the kinds of extravagantly unnecessary features that hint at deep past history which we find in the rocks of this earth, the light from the stars, and the genomes of living things. The apparent history we see goes far, far beyond what would be functionally necessary for creation to operate fully-formed. That’s why this particular line of YEC reasoning fails.
Lumping astronomy, geology, and genetics together in one broad statement about “unnecessary features” is probably not valid. Yes, in genetics we find errors, or mutations, or seemingly non-functional material, etc. So we can investigate and debate the rates of accumulation and change. But in geology it would be difficult to argue that something is unnecessary. and in fact, when rocks are postulated to be extremely ancient, we do not find the kind of ancient features that we would expect at the level we would expect, such as the ancient fossilized erosion features which we commonly see forming today. It is hard to argue that the lack of erosion in the past is “unnecessary”.
I must also admit that trying to understand that certain astronomical features are “extravagantly unnecessary” is a leap. Necessity seemed to lead to postulation of dark matter and black holes, but yet direct evidence is lacking. But in general, why would astronomical features be deemed unnecessary? By whose yardstick?
The examples you give of physical development are thought provoking, but it is the mental and related psycho-social developmental problems that arise from being created as an adult that make me sure that the story of Adam is meant to be seen as poetic and spiritual truths rather than physical history. How could someone who never had a childhood or human interaction be morally responsible or competent?
And if he had baby soft skin, it would have been painful those first few weeks in the garden until it toughened up.
Alas, but they would be memories programmed by God, and thus any moral decisions based on those memories/ thought patterns would then be a result of God’s creation, and God would then be responsible for Adam’s sin…
Maybe better to just not think about it. It’s too confusing.
Seriously, I agree that it does get pretty strange if you take things literally when you look at all the implications of that interpretation.
And I, just because I have a degree in science, am continually lumped in with the anti-science evolutionists who constantly deride and malign the creationist scientists, many of whom have PhDs in biology, chemistry, astronomy, engineering, or geology.
It is ironic… it is sad… an example is the evangelism that is so difficult in the middle east, to convince muslims to believe in Jesus as the Christ. Apologia evangelists such as Ravi Zacharias and Nabeel Quereshi have pointed out that no matter how convincing the rational arguments for Christ, many muslims cannot accept his divinity and resurrection because of the personal cost of family relationships. I believe this is also true for many evolutionary scholars. To even question the basic principles of evolution would be anathema. Not only would it alienate from a huge body of scholars and practitioners, it also would have a huge impact on world-view. Dawkins could no longer argue that the selfish gene is the fundamentalist principle of evolution, and thus would have to search elsewhere for lack of meaning.
The fact that evolutionists so readily conflate evolution with science, and are so willing to make false allegations that anti-evolutionary thinking is equal to a distrust of science, demonstrates clearly that their self-proclaimed scientific neutrality is completely false.
They are in essence saying that scientists are anti-science, not because it is true, because certainly it is false, but because personal adhominems are more fun and easier than actually dealing with the scientific arguments against evolutionary theory.
Yet those statements have no more validity, and no more significance, than for someone to say that evolutionists are anti-science, since evolutionists such as Richard Dawkins and Bill Nye disregard scientific arguments, evidence, and rationale.
Because you have a degree in Science, you are lumped in with “Anti-Science” Evolutionists? Who would those people be?
If you have a degree in Science, why would you be lumped in with an Anti-Science crowd?
Is what you mean to say is that because you have a degree in Science, many of your Creationists think you are a "died-in-the-wool-going-to-Hades Evolutionist?
Is that what you mean?
If so… I think you better take that up with the Creationists. I know we have a handful here… but I’m sure you know where there are ga-billions of them lingering around, and they would be happy to tell you why.
I am glad you caught the irony in my statement. I substituted anti-science evolutionist for anti-science creationist, because it is the tendency of evolutionists to assume creationists are anti-science. Thus to turn the tables, I used the term anti-science evolutionist, since many evolutionists, even scientists who assume evolution, do not do so on the basis of good science, but on the basis of assumption and belief. This was also brought home to me as I recently read a book by John Ankerberg and John Weldon who provide numerous references to quotes from many esteemed Ne-Darwinian evolutionists who expressed the opinion that the data and the evaluation of the data led to the conclusion that evolution was mostly miraculous, improbable, and impossible, and yet they believed in it. “Darwin’s Leap of Faith” (1998). We have heard the phrase, “God is Dead”, applied to present culture, but it would be more accurate to say, “Darwin is Dead”, both literally and figuratively, since evolution is so improbable generally that mathematics do not permit its possibility through the laws of chance, even when acted upon by natural selection, through time. The time proposed by evolutionary theory is not anywhere close enough to provide enough time for the impossible to happen.
Yeah there is an obsession many Christians can have with Darwin for some reason as this blogger noted:
Well that’s just silly. Evolution has no bearing on God’s existence so this is rather irrelevant.
Through what? Laws of chance? Do you know the mechanisms by which genomes can change? Do you know the ‘limits of evolutionary change?’ Or are you just repeating common myths that people who don’t actually do science claim?
How much time is too little time? Calculations please.
Can anyone provide examples of YEC resources that promote distrust of science?
Why bother? Science is doing a pretty good job of that without any help from us. Besides the current reproducibility crisis I can recall the flip flops in nutrition advice we have received in my lifetime. If scientists can’t even get basic nutrition right why should we rely on them for advice on more difficult subjects.
However as a structural engineer I have more faith in operational science as applied to my profession, but then that is subject to regular rigorous verification by real world application. When something falls down hard questions are asked!
It would be interesting to see how you would set up an a human experiment analogous to how you built bridges. Let’s see, to determine whether calcium supplements increase bone strength, you could but one group on a low calcium diet, another on a high calcium diet, then after an appropriate period, place their femurs in a press to determine the failure strength…
The problem with engineering is that it leaves you thinking that you know more about science than you really do.
Here’s the thing. Engineering teaches you to take the results of scientific investigation and use them to build things. But it doesn’t teach you how scientific investigation is carried out, and where the results come from, in the first place.
That’s why this bogus distinction between “operational science” and “historical science” seems to have so much traction. People who buy into it don’t realise that what they think of as “historical science” can have real-world applications every bit as important, and real world verification every bit as rigorous, as what they think of as “operational science.” Case in point: oil exploration.
Yes, when bridges fall down, questions get asked. But these questions then go on to establish rules and principles that need to be applied to “historical science” as well as “operational science.” If you are preaching an approach to “historical science” that disregards those rules, as sure as eggs are eggs some people will feed that approach back into “operational science” or even engineering. And people will get hurt as a result.
Operational science is different than historical science, although historical science uses operational science in its process. Forensic science is more akin to historical science in its application. But forensic science often has much debate associated with it, because of the proposals for alternate theories, or alternate possible scenarios. When a bridge is whipped by the wind, and eventually disintegrates, we know the proximate cause of failure, but still have to determine a solution to prevent future failures. ie. more flexibility, more weight, less symmetry, etc. But, in relative terms more testable solutions. When a man is shot in his yard, and we have the direction of the shot, but no weapon, no witnesses, no motive, no one hearing a gunshot, we might suppose all sorts of things… a silencer, shot elsewhere and dumped, shot himself and weapon stolen or removed, etc. And then discover he was hit by a random accidental shot by a person a mile away who was cleaning his rifle, but only after much investigation. Now we get to historical forensics, and the situation happened a hundred years ago… and no one is alive who was alive when the incident happened, and the neighborhood has been rezoned and rebuilt from residential to industrial. No cell phones or video cameras. A story can be developed, but it will most likely be the wrong story.
Now we get to pre-historic… no stories passed on, no witnesses, no writings, no cell phones, no microfiche. The likelihood of getting the right story becomes less and less and less. We can imagine limitations, and possibilities, and we can eliminate a few possibilities, but we have difficulty with probabilities, because we have no or minimal information on changing conditions over time. The degree of certainty becomes less and less and less, and so when we calculate probabilities of random events resulting in a useful end product, we find it is impossible. Statistically speaking. Not impossible with God, but impossible with blind chance.
Yes John, but you need to realise that the fact that we don’t know everything about the past doesn’t mean to say that we don’t know anything about the past. To give your example of a man being shot in his yard, we may not know who shot him, but we know that he was shot. And yes, the certainty does decrease as we go further back in time, but it doesn’t drop down to zero. We know a whole lot less about the Archaean (4000-2500 billion years ago) than about the Cretaceous (145-66 million years ago). But we can be absolutely certain that they were 4000-2500 billion years ago and 145-66 million years ago respectively, and not much more recent than that.