Monday, February 19, 2007

At midnight I woke up in a flash

With a brainstorm. This doesn't happen to me all that often, but it did last night, and I said "That's brilliant" out loud. There may indeed be tons of people out there who have already thought of this, but it was cool to me and I'm glad that the thought appeared in my mind. I will credit the Holy Spirit for planting the idea in there.

It has to do w/ the age of the earth. As I'm sure you know, it is oft claimed that an old earth is the more "scientific" position, and that one would have to hold to a young earth position (say, less than 10,000 yrs old) solely on faith. What I've been discovering in my journeys of thought, debate, and polemics over the last 3-4 yrs, however, is that any opponent of my position who accuses me of blind faith has at least an equal investment of blind, unprovable faith in their own position, but they don't realise it (for the most part) or hide it (I suspect that is the case for at least a few).

Similar ideas to these were put forward recently at Triablogue by the matchless Steve Hays, but here I will distill them into a form more friendly to my way of thinking. (Consider that a big fat hat tip and a disclaimer - I don't claim originality here.)

The point made by Hays was that the substances/elements/stuff usually used to test the passage of time are only incidentally useful for that, which is to say that uranium's purpose is not to tell time. Nor is a rooster's purpose to tell time, though it does *incidentally* aid to wake me up in the morning.
So an evolutionist will claim that these processes are tested to tell us how old they are, but my question is: how did you test the hypothesis that the same 'aging' processes that you use to find the age of the earth were still in operation in the same manner, say, 1 million yrs ago?
If you were/are unable to test that hypothesis, then why should anyone accept an old earth as 'scientific'?
As so often claimed by evolutionists, science = testability, and I've been asked several times for possible defeaters for the young-earth position. I tell them they have to falsify the existence of the God of the Bible. Now I turn the question back on them (which is far too infrequently done). Show me a way you can test that *assumption* of modern evolutionary science.

My opponent might object: "But you are injecting terrible uncertainties and destroying scientific progress!"
Ah, true. However,
-Am I not more in line w/ the spirit of scientific inquiry over history?
-That sounds like a problem for an atheist, but not for a theist.
-It's not progress if it did not arrive at truth. Which it has not in this case.

In the end, if you insist on holding to an old earth on faith, I don't see why I'm unjustified in insisting you test that hypothesis and show me the results, as you so often do to me. Test the hypothesis SCIENTIFICALLY (ie, using the scientific method) that the same aging processes were in place 1 million yrs ago as are in place today. As it is, you are merely assuming it.


Anonymous said...

Same goes for evolution. It cannot be tested using the scientific method, so it hangs together on assumptions about what appear to be repeatable patterns.

Don't get me wrong. You know I am not a "Young Earth" guy. As far as I am concerned it could go either way and it would make zero difference in my faith in God thru my Lord and Savior.

Still, the evolutionists really get under my skin with their arguments that "all I have" is faith. But, really, I have as much proof of God's existence as they have of the reality of evolution, but my faith leads me somewhere that their faith can't take them.

Heck, if I were just a little bit more interested in biology, I could easily be a Christian AND study evolution. I think it is fascinating as a scientific pursuit. But it lacks a lot as a philosophical position on which one bases one's life, hope, and behavior.


Rhology said...

--As far as I am concerned it could go either way and it would make zero difference

>>Indeed. This is no test for fellowship or purity of doctrine or whatever. There are certain *consequences* for one's evaluation of the authority and inspiration of the biblical text if one accepts an old earth, since there are insurmountable exegetical problems w/ an old earth, but that doesn't mean that people always take them out to their logical conclusion. People are inconsistent all the time. Sometimes that is a good thing. :-)
And just for the record, I'm young earth b/c the Bible says so, and I'm not ashamed to say that (though I was before, so I was ambivalent on the question).

Kyle said...

Good point. The purpose of radioactive decay of large elements over time was never declared by God to be a reliable indicator of the age of the universe. I have no problem with the 'appearance of age' which some Christ followers have suggested seems deceptive. I think the assumption that these processes are constant is a weak point that should be frequently exposed. How do we know large amounts of carbon-14 were not extant during creation for some unknown purpose or were not byproducts of large amounts of heat 'in the beginning'? Good insight.

Turi said...

What are the exegetical reasons for disbelieving in an old earth? I guess it always seemed to me the Bible wasn't terribly explicit on the subject. Is the creation of the earth itself even included in the text?

Rhology said...

First of all, the order of creation does not fit the evolutionary model as it is supposed.
1) light, day, night
2) heaven vs earth
3) dry land
4) vegetation
4) sun, stars, moon
5) birds, sea creatures
6) land creatures, livestock, bugs

Note in particular that vegetation appears BEFORE the sun. How could photosynthesis function?

Next, note that all appeared fully-grown w/ appearance of age. Adam appears a fully-formed man, not a stooped over half-man half-ape. How could one shoehorn that into a metaphor to harmonise w/ an evolutionary model?

Next, and perhaps most importantly, Jesus Christ Himself lets the air out of the tires of the Theistic Evolutionary position (at least if the TEv-holder-to cares about the integrity and proper exegesis of the Scripture):

Matthew 19: 3And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, "Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?" 4He answered, "Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh'? 6So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate."

Once again, how will the ThEv position explain that Jesus cited Adam & Eve as real people in history?

Those are a few fairly good arguments.
In particular, the fact that the earth and Adam himself all were created w/ the appearance of age, created full-grown, helped me become an intellectually-fulfilled YEC.

Rhology said...

Forgot this, but also Jesus refers to Noah's flood as an historical event, so that would be another issue to discuss.