Why I am Not Ken Ham

(Jay Nelsestuen) #1

Just posted a blog post on why I am not a young earth creationist. For any of you who are YECs, you might give it a read; feel free to comment on the blog and criticize me - it really does help. Those of you who already aren’t, feel free to offer your critiques, thoughts, constructive criticisms, etc. I really would like more feedback.

Thanks so much!


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(James McKay) #2

Looks like a good, well-thought-out post.

One point worth making about uniformitarianism: it is actually testable, and not a blind assumption as YECs believe. You mention distant supernovae – these offer excellent evidence that the laws of physics are the same in the distant universe (and therefore, back in time) as they are here today. It’s also possible to cross-check different studies whose assumptions are independent of each other, and to make testable predictions about what we would expect to observe if it were violated. We can therefore put tight constraints on the extent to which the fundamental constants of nature could have varied in the past.

(Jay Nelsestuen) #3

Indeed, that is a good point. Thanks.

(Phil) #4

That is a good read, and well written. I think you have done a good job with integrating your personal testimony, and also with not being condescending with your arguments. In fact, I think the way you present it the theology rather than science is something we should all do, as ultimately that is what is important.

One question, how have your views been received in your home church? My church has sort of a don’t ask, don’t tell attitude about origins, although some of the YEC adherents are vocal at times. Of course, that is pretty much the same attitude I see regarding any issue that is controversial, which is sad as people who should feel loved and accepted in at least one place regardless of their views, cannot trust enough to have open discussions in their church community, myself included.

(Jay Johnson) #5

Good article. I’m impressed with your theological understanding at such a young age. I sincerely hope you continue to pursue such questions. Since you indicate that you are of the Reformed persuasion, I would encourage you to study the work of John Frame and Vern Poythress and Meredith Kline, if you’re not already familiar with them.

Here is a link to Kline’s own essay Space and Time in the Genesis Cosmogony. His concern, like yours, was “(t)o rebut the literalist interpretation of the Genesis creation week propounded by the young-earth theorists… At the same time, the exegetical evidence adduced also refutes the harmonistic day-age view. The conclusion is that as far as the time frame is concerned, with respect to both the duration and sequence of events, the scientist is left free of biblical constraints in hypothesizing about cosmic origins.”

(Casper Hesp) #6

I want to add to this a more general note about “Uniformitarianism”, which is relevant to the blog post of @AdCaelumEo and a huge source of confusion among YECs these days.

References to Uniformitarianism are much, much more common in creationist literature than in actual science text books. It appears to me that YEC ministries are artificially inflating the importance of “Uniformitarianism” to mainstream scientific conclusions. They use it as a way to cast doubts on those conclusions, but it does not do justice to the actual scientific work. It’s comparable to the way they inflate the importance of “historical science” in a way that defies the actual reasoning behind these scientific findings. It’s mainly a rhetorical game.

Geologists do not use “Uniformitarianism” as a generalized a-priori starting point. Rather, they try to understand under which circumstances processes occur in rather predictable ways (“uniform”) and under which circumstances they don’t. In that sense, it’s more accurately seen as part of a specific hypothesis: “How well can I understand the available data if I assume erosive process A occurred uniformly over time period B?”

This point holds for all fields. In Astrophysics we’re often looking for opportunities to study processes that are relatively stable and predictable (for example, the lifetime of a main sequence star). But in order to find such opportunities consistently, we need to understand under which circumstances stability occurs. Therefore, it is never an a-priori assumption. It starts out as a hypothesis that needs theoretical and empirical support to avoid being discarded. It does not deserve the suffix “-ism” because it’s not a generalized approach. Especially since “Dynamicism” is at least as important. In addition to conditions of stability, astrophysicists have been very interested in studying dynamic transitions (for example, the different transitions in the lifetime of a star).

The teaching that “Uniformitarian beliefs” are the foundation of all old earth claims is false. Rather, scientists have empirical evidence and theoretical arguments which indicate when and why certain processes do or do not occur uniformly over time.

A Letter to my Son about Creation
(Jay Nelsestuen) #7

My church is very openly YEC. The VBS this last summer was AiG’s “Ocean Commotion: Diving in to the World of Noah’s Flood.” I was a crew leader during that time. I must say, the YEC apologetic against an old earth paradigm is very weak.

This is the first time I’ve made my opinions public. I’m off at college right now (at another very YEC institution, The Master’s University), but my pastor will likely see the post on Facebook. We’ll see what happens. I know a number of people that I’ve talked to one-on-one have been somewhat accommodating, and there’s been no shortage of good conversation.


(Jay Nelsestuen) #8

Thank you for the suggestions. I had heard those names before, but I will look deeper into them.


(Phil) #9

Best wishes, will truly pray for you as you continue on life’s journey. I find that most individuals are kind and understanding, and will treat you with love regardless of differences in belief. Some may not, but we are called to love them too.

(Jay Johnson) #10

You bet. The article you linked on your blog about the framework theory was by Lee Irons, who recently graduated from Westminster Seminary in Calif. He was probably taught by John Frame. I highly recommend Frame’s Systematic Theology.

(system) #11

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