This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://biologos.org/blogs/guest/galactic-archaeology-uncovering-the-history-written-in-the-stars
Thanks for reading along! I’ll be available here for further discussion in case you have any questions, remarks, or objections concerning the content of this post.
What a fascinating piece, Casper! Thank you for so clearly explaining all of this recent science, much of which was unheard of when I studied physics & astronomy in the 1970s.
I’m also fascinated by the ongoing engagement of creationists with that pesky old idea of creation with apparent age. I followed a trail of links originating with your link to John Hartnett’s work. He apparently rejects apparent age arguments, whereas some of his creationist colleagues do not. Henry Morris & John Whitcomb liked to play that trump card fairly often, but I sense that the next generation of creationists tried to minimize its use–for obvious reasons.
Fascinating read. I have had discussions with a friend of mine about cosmic event histories (such as 168,000 year old supernovas) that make God out to be a deceiver. I wonder why he would put illusions into the sky. It’s like God not only creating Adam and Eve mature, but with scars from wounds they never endured. Seems to me to be a real problem.
Reading early earth creationism on the deep time of our universe, coupled with hyper-fast “kind development” post flood, for me, are not just two problems but have my BS meter blinking overtime. I was raised in a form of Fundamentalism and can never return.
Excellent article, Casper! It is a testament to your clarity of expression that I (think I) understood everything you wrote.
Hi Ted, thank you. Lots of things happened in astronomy since 1970. I think that’s what causes part of the trouble for young-earth thinkers. I often see arguments being recycled that have been thoroughly debunked in the past 30 years. As an example, the argument of unstable galactic spiral arms is really outdated. Recent simulation work shows that the emergence of stable spiral arms is actually a necessity in the current paradigm. It would be problematic if we would not be observing them.
True, and I think that’s a positive development in many ways. It gives us a handle for reasonable discussions. If “creation with apparent age” is allowed, there’s no argument to be had at all.
Hi Jay, glad you enjoyed it.
That’s true. In some ways, the “mature” creation of human beings is even more problematic than that of a galaxy. The mammalian brain is like a sponge for information, a historical record of astonishing precision. Everything we ever experienced is etched into it to shape our everyday life. If you raise cats without vertical lines in their environment, they end up being “blind” to vertical lines. Or, more dramatically, how could you be truly “you” without having all your childhood memories (etched into your brain) that give you a framework of reference for understanding yourself and the world around you?
For Adam to be any sort of functioning human being, his brain would need to have an extensive event history. The implications of that are astonishing. For example, it would have to include enough “fabricated” experience to instantly become a native-speaker at some kind of heavenly language. At least enough to invent names for all the animals, lol.
I’ve enjoyed reading posts in this thread. I think several points raised here tie in well to the thread on God not making new trees with old tree rings. I particularly enjoyed the comparison of this issue in botany to the issue of neural development in a human!
As a tree grows and is (presumably) strengthened by the concentric reinforcement of dozens of tree rings running up the length of the tree - - the human mind is strengthened by a plethora of neural connections built by years of experience.
There have been any number of Sci Fi movies showing humans deviously laying plans to over-ride or replace normal neural development with devices that accelerate neural change in a matter of minutes. To anticipate the inevitable objections of my favorite critics, I would certainly agree that if I can find such “high tech” processes as plausible, it would be equally plausible if God Himself could be performing such neural accelerations or overrides!
Certainly God would not want his wonderful hominid creations to be devoid of mature thought … to be devoid of high-level reasoning … We all love children … but perhaps God would have even more reason than your average parent hope to avoid the more frivolous questionings of his “children”:
"God, are we there yet?"
Adam, you know you asked me the exact same question just 5 minutes ago.
Which leads me, once again, to one of the plainly awkward parts of the Eden recital:
Tools specific to Gen 2:16
Unchecked Copy Box Gen 2:16
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
". . . of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that
thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
What a dilemma for such a newly developed brain and mind!
God intentionally tests this young creation with a Moral Dilemma! And being a test, it is intended to measure Adam’s moral stance, his ability to make good choices. But how is this a historically real situation? How do we read these lines of poetry and imagine them to represent a true moment in the development of humanity?
Who, mortal or immortal, would seriously test a mind that, by God’s own plan, does not know what Sin, or Evil, or Goodness actually is? It’s like asking a 2 year old boy if it is okay to take a neighbor’s garden melons if the boy is hungry! Do we expect a 2 year old to have a mature stance on such a question?
If we cannot expect maturity of a 2 year old, having no comprehension of the moral issues at stake, how can we expect maturity and moral comprehension from Adam who, at best, is Four Weeks old?!?!?
This is not a realistic situation - - and yet Young Creationists cling to it as though it is the answer to all their questions. Frankly, I think it is the end of all questions, because it tells the reader this is not a historically plausible chronology of events.
It’s the equivalent of saying: not only do I make old trees without old tree rings … but I will cut them down if they do not levitate well above the soil! Why would any deity expect a human mind, without knowledge of goodness and evil… with no preparation on the idea of Sin and Righteousness … to make informed and mature moral decisions?
If anything proves the wisdom of the Eastern Orthodox position on Paul’s comments on the role of Adam, it is this most crucial false note of the Eden plot line. On its face, it is of the utmost implausibility - - and cannot be taken literally.
When the Orthodox communion ganged up on the Bishop of Rome, excommunicating him from the Faith even as he excommunicated all the Orthodox communities, just maybe they were doing the well intentioned thing. For the Roman church has taught the Augustine’s interpretation of Paul’s doctrine - - alleging the magical transmission of some metaphysical sin - - which seems to have turned millions of humans into brittle vessels of wrath and hardened hearts - - instead of more gentle and flexible souls who are able to see the role of sin in a more nuanced arrangement.