Visiting the YEC class, Day 1: ICR staff attacking the Big Bang, being ignored by ID staff, etc

(josh abraham) #1

Thank you for your responses to my last post regarding the YEC class at a megachurch in Dallas. I think I responded to everyone looking for a reply.

This morning I attended a YEC class taught by a ICR staff guy named Bill West. His title was “Star Wars: The Battle for the Heavens.”


  1. This man did not lack knowledge about astronomy.

  2. The audience was somewhat informed, in a kind of PBS way. The laymen’s standard engagement with science after college. There was about 17 of them, but the church holds about 500.

  3. The class schedule was only four weeks long, and all about astronomy. He said the last class would be about aliens. He has been substantially influenced by Jason Lisle, I believe of ICR.

  4. He made an immediate link between what he was doing and “apologetics”. I have noticed these days it is extremely hard to find any apologetics books in even a Christian megastory like Mardel here. What happened to this line of publishing? As a historian I have to ask this question.

  5. He had copies of Acts and Facts magazine at the ready.

I heard him for an hour, and then wondered what I should do. I teach at a secular community college two miles away, in which the science departments would react to his ideas with ridicule or horror, or both.

But then I thought about the audience who was listening to him.

He was invited by Leslie, a Cru staff director I knew 20 years ago at WVU. I found out Leslie was here at this church through Facebook. I had come to admire this church’s singles ministry before I researched their approach to science. Turns out at another campus of this same church, there is a guy teaching ID who also has an apologetics ministry at the University of Texas at Dallas, called “Reasonable Faith”.

  1. He said Stephen Meyer told ICR that debating them about the age of the earth etc. was not an important priority. I don’t know if this means Discovery is ignoring ICR or wanting simply not to fight.

I decided to tell him first about my historical research which brought me to supporters of YEC, ID, and evolution. Then I asked him,

“What do you see as the social impacts of evolutionary teaching?”

Response: “Young people are leaving the church. The Bible is being cast aside by the younger generations. I love apologetics for this reason. It is calling young people back to God.”

This is a paraphrase. But I think I captured his spirit. This is almost exactly what I heard coming from Stephen Meyer at another church here.

Lakepointe church cannot seem to make up its mind between YEC and ID. But the verdict is out. Evolution is atheism. Too bad for ECs. But that is Dallas evangelicalism for you. What Marsden calls “fundamentalistic evangelicalism.”

But sometimes I wonder about that Bible chapter that basically says, “One man considers every day the same, one considers one day special. If each does what he does to the Lord, who are you to judge someone else’s servant?”

But at the same time, I wonder about theological battles Paul chose to fight, as he faced Peter directly. I don’t know which category Enlightenment science’s contact with Protestantism is. Still too foggy after 15 years of conversations. So I have learned to ease up and not stress out with YECs and ID people.

I will be engaging Bill again in the weeks to come. I shook his hand and thanked him. I did not try to present a clean reconciliation of mainstream science and Protestant theology. This man is a paid warrior for the leading YEC organization of all time. I took in his full aspect. And the needs of his audience. Some college age people in there. Seeing the young affects a professor before he chooses to wage war against fellow Christians.

If you have any feedback to give, I will try to reply within about a week. Thanks.

(Juan Romero) #2

Cool name.

As an amateur astronomer myself, I would have liked to see that.

I would like to be there to see what sort of arguments YECs use nowadays.

I hope he was trying to do some decent apologetics.

I go for both.

Isn’t that William Lane Craig’s ministry?

I would answer “Nothing special”. I was a YEC for many years, I perfectly understood evolution and the Big Bang, even though I denied them.

I consider myself an apologist, but if you want some decent apologetics (using some science, of course), then study real science.

That’s what AronRa calls “The first foundational falsehood of creationism”.

Oh brother…

(Peaceful Science) #3

I would ask him why he thinks human arguments can solve this problem. How could that possibly lead to confident faith?

My experience with YEC and ID is that it put my faith on a very unstable foundation. . I found confident faith when I understood what God had done in history by raising Jesus from the dead. That is a solid rock, based on God’s work instead of human arguments.

Why does he trust human arguments over God’s work to reveal himself?

(Mervin Bitikofer) #4

Would that your ‘star wars’ presenter and his organization valued this sentiment as much as you do!

Paul turned rather fierce whenever he observed religious leaders introducing unnecessary stumbling blocks between new converts and Christ. There is radical disagreement here over exactly what that stumbling block is, to be sure; but the question is an important one.

My daily reading reached the ‘love chapter’ this morning; including this thought: “…it does not rejoice in wrong-doing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

“Believes all things” is a curious thought in the context of our discussions here. But one thing seems clear to me: love trumps knowledge; or would if the two were placed into competition --which would already be a sign of trouble. After all ‘rejoices in the truth’ is also in there. It would seem to me that love should be the ‘commanding officer’ in charge that enlists knowledge as its servant.

You should be commended for bearing in patience with your brothers and sisters. It’s easy for people here to anonymously blast away at all those who harbor contrary convictions. But when we are face-to-face with those we love and want to protect that fellowship – I think that is love in action, forcing stridently ambitious rank-and-file soldiers (like knowledge) to hold their fire and wait on orders. But nor does love dispose of those foot-soldiers either, knowing that they are valuable and necessary in their season.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #5

I think this man needs to consider the possibility that young people are not casting aside the Bible, but false teachers might be misinterpreting the Bible to be incompatible with science.

If he is really concerned about young people and the Church, then he should really consider that possibility. The problem as I see it is that he is not an every day person whose faith is private so to speak, but a teacher of the faith, who it spears is perverting the gospel.

Paul was most concerned about those who claimed that Gentiles could not be Christians without obeying the Jewish Law. In a sense they resoned that si9nce the first Christians were Jewish before they became Christian, pagans needed to become Jewish and Christian also,

Paul said that one did not have to be Jewish to be Christian. In fact if believing in Christ is not enough, then being Jewish nullifies the Christian salvation.

In a real sense when leaders and churches decide that other people cannot be true Christians if they accept evolution as true. or if they are not YEC or if they are Democrats or if they are homosexuals, etc. then they are doing the same thing the Judaizers were doing.

(Ronald Myers) #6

How did this guy account for the vastness of the universe in consideration that the speed of light severely limits the observable size of the universe if it were only 6,000 to 10,000 years old? It would appear that an effort comparable to flood geology would be needed to account for such things as red shift, constancy of hydrogen spectra and other galaxies. Even accepting a heliocentric solar system requires some non literal interpretation of Genesis.

On the theological side, if heavenly objects were created for terrestrial purposes (lighting, time keeping,navigation) why are there objects which require instruments to see (outer planets, far stars, other galaxies, nebulae, gas and dust clouds)

(Chris Falter) #7

There are 3 hypotheses that seem simple to those without rigorous education in physics:

  1. The speed of light could be different in different eras and places.
  2. By convention, the speed of light is infinite while moving toward the observer and 0.5c while moving away from the observer.
  3. The universe has a radius of only 7000 light years. Astronomers aren’t using red-shift correctly to calculate distance.

The scientific community recognizes the enormous problems behind these 3 simple-looking hypotheses, of course.

@jbabraham88 - I am curious as to which hypothesis was presented by the lecturer. Do you recall?

(Ronald Myers) #8

The scientific community recognizes the enormous problems behind these 3 simple-looking hypotheses, of course. Yea verily

I am too well educated on physics not to think somebody is smoking something.
For me the sameness of the hydrogen spectra from all sources is the best indication of the universality of physical constants.


I would add type Ia supernovae and the consistency of color and luminosity of stars as more evidence. All of these features require 4 fundamental and constant forces of nature and the same speed of light. If you significantly change the speed of light then you increase the amount of energy produced in the cores of stars, and that should be really obvious in their color and mass. If constants were different with respect to type Ia supernovae then we shouldn’t see any correlation between redshift and luminosity, nor should they have such similar rates of fading. If you change the nuclear forces (strong and weak) then you change the fundamental characteristics of fusion and ultimately fusion products, and that isn’t seen either. We aren’t assuming that the fundamental constants we see on Earth are universal. We observe that they are universal, both across time and space.

(Ronald Myers) #10

I agree. I would add blackbody spectra shape as another semi independent example

Counting Type II and fusion products as two additional indications of universality of physical laws and constants, when it comes up I can cite 2 proofs and say that a correspondent has supplied two others. One can embellish this but this should be enough for anybody willing to listen. Thanks

(josh abraham) #11

Thank you for this extended reply. Your reflections show years of contemplation. I need to hear that.

(Robin) #12

This is an interesting conversation…

(system) #13

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