Tuesday, July 20, 2010

This is what a pile of naturalistic assumptions looks like

Been discussing things related to the age of the Earth, the flood, and what scientific study can tell us over at bossmanham's blog with a skeptic named David.  We pick up at his most recent comments.

"They're not MERELY human-written, though. The Bible was written by God and man, both"

If you’re wrong, how could you tell that you were wrong?

If this fact were incorrect, nothing would matter, so whether I was wrong or right wouldn't matter either.

The errors are there, but you refuse to allow the use of the tools that show that the errors are there.

You mean b/c I demand more than assumptions?
Is this where one gets when one starts questioning the "mountains of evidence" that naturalistic Darwinians like to claim for their position? Complaints about how unfair my standards for certainty are?

You claim that other religions are not “internally consistent”, but I’ll bet we could find plenty of apologists for these other religions that would claim that their religious beliefs ARE internally consistent.

Thank you, Captain Obvious.
I prefer not to waste time asking myself the question, "Do some disagree?" but rather "On what grounds do they disagree?" and go from there.

There are also plenty who argue that Christianity is NOT internally consistent.

Of course. So I just ask them to substantiate their assertion. And one by one, the failures mount.

If the Star Wars Sagas are internally consistent, should we worship the Force?

I haven't seen a fantasy saga that's consistent yet. But please, if you have a case to make, make it.

I’m pretty certain that Egyptologists rely on the written records like king lists from Egypt and surrounding areas as well as the chronologies of other cultures

1) Those don't say anything about the Exodus accounts. Or did a "king list from Egypt" that was found somewhere include the words "And by the way, any rumor you might hear about some Exodus of Jew pigs from Egypt and then wandering in the Sinai for 40 years is totally false"?
2) You seem to be conflating Egyptian archaeological study with "tree rings and radiocarbon dating", as if you could use Egyptian king lists to substantiate an old earth. I don't get where you're going here.

way beyond the traditional flood date of about 2300 to 2400 BC

Do you realise you're assuming the flood didn't happen before going to the records? How do you know no records were lost? It's a matter of modern arrogance to think that there's nothing more to be done in reconstructing the past. Would any archaeologist, in an honest moment, tell you with a straight face that he knows 1% of what there is to know of ancient history?

“Now, can we be 1% certain about how the natural world worked in the past? No.”

Can we be even 0.00001% certain that the Creator of the Universe stopped by the Earth about 3500 years ago to tell a single ANE nomad how the Creator made the Earth? No. See? I can play this game, too.

1) Yes, we can be certain of it.
2) Notice how you're subtly playing a switcheroo here. Let me try to help.
On your naturalistic worldview - I'm asking you how we can be sure of ANYTHING, to say nothing of the ancient world and the way natural processes worked then. You can't give me anything beyond more assumptions. So apparently we can be sure of pretty much nothing, especially since you haven't even tried to give an answer to the problem of induction.
On Christianity - we're made in the image of an omniscient and timeless God, Who created the universe and told us with a great deal of detail how it went down, and there's no standard of knowledge higher than Him. B/c of Him, we can know things with certainty, and God Himself is the answer to the problem of induction, and His revelation the answer to these questions I've been asking about uniformitarianism.

Ergo, I commend repentance and faith to you.

As you like to say...prove it.

Yes, I like that phrase very much, since saying it enough always reveals the bankruptcy of naturalistic atheism.

Predictions are made in such a way that if the world works in a manner different from the way you assumed, then observations will contradict the predictions.

1) You can't tell me "how the world works" w/o solving the problem of induction.
2) Even if you could, that would tell you nothing about whether uniformitarian assumptions are correct. But you're alleging that these predictions can serve to test the assumptions I identified. But it looks like you have no answer to that.

How can you test your assumption that God talked to Moses?

I don't. I've said now at least twice that one does not subject the word of the very foundation of truth and knowledge to "testing".

so you’re one of those guys who thinks that God magically placed a beam of light all the way from the stars to the Earth when He created the Earth.

Magically? No. Supernaturally, of course. What about "God created the universe" is hard to understand?

Or are you a fan of the variable speed of light theory? As you would say, prove it.

Prove it? Think again. This is about me poking massive holes in your worldview, all the while admitting that I am pitifully small and trust in Someone much greater.
And who are you to cast aspersions on the variable speed of light theory? Do you have some evidence against it? Or just the observations that humans have made, which are a tiny proportion of all the occurrences of light's travels all around the universe, and none of which you personally have studied, which means you're relying on authorities?

Yes, I've read a geology textbook or two. What they told me was that they assume it. You haven't given me any reason to think that's wrong.

this still doesn’t explain why He made the Earth look old. I

Well, at the fundamental, He did it b/c He wanted to. (You asked "Why", after all.)
Why the universe looks old is a different question, and it comes down to the fact that God created the universe whole, mature. Adam wasn't created as a zygote. Plants weren't created as seeds. Etc. Your responsibility is to believe what God told you and not use inferior methods to try to prove God wrong, as if that were possible.

It just makes God look malicious

Do you have some objective moral foundation that could serve to judge objectively whether being "malicious" is right or wrong?

the fact that there is so much evidence for an old earth,

By "evidence" here, you clearly mean "assumptions".

the YECers had to invent the “apparent age” hypothesis.

Totally. It's not as if it's not right there in Genesis.

Hypotheses are constructed in such a way that if they are false, there should be plenty of evidence to show that they are false.

I have a little less naïve faith in humanity than you appear to. And the history of science bears out my cynicism.


David said...

At one point I asked...

So what you're actually saying is that there ISN'T a hypothetical possibility that you could tell if you are wrong using geology, biogeography, genetics, archeology, antropology, etc. We can not use the research of geologists, paleontologists, biogeographers, geneticists, antropologists or archeologists (to test the accuracy of the description of a global flood).

You said "correct".

So, ok. I understand. Given your answer, I think that about wraps it up.

The Jolly Nihilist said...

As I have stated on my own blog, even though I fully support Darwinian evolution by natural selection as by far the best method of explaining Earth’s biodiversity, owing to the veritable constellation of evidence - fossils, biogeography, embryology, genetics, etc. - supporting the theory, I do not feel that creationism has been disproved as a general hypothesis; however, I am fully comfortable saying that Young Earth creationism has been disproved, as has an Earth whose age is measured merely in thousands of years as opposed to billions of them.

Dendrochronological records, which are not dependent on radioactive dating, stretch back approximately 11,500 years; with those independent and to-the-year-accurate dendrochronological records, we can “calibrate” our radiocarbon dating and make sure our assumptions about its efficacy are not wildly incorrect (in much the same way that, when scientists cross-check radioactive dating in a single sample, across radioisotopes, across orders of magnitude, they test their broader assumptions).

Rhology said...


Apparently you're not quite realising that the questions you have yet to answer eviscerate your position at a very fundamental level, much more than asking whether we can find traces of a flood or something. Too bad you're not tracking, but I've tried to be as clear as possible.

One quibble:
to test the accuracy of the description of a global flood

I wouldn't say that. I'd say "to overturn the occurrence in real history of a global flood". Science is God's handmaid - what we do find can serve to help us understand God's creation better, but it can make no statement on whether things did NOT happen, or whether God exists or not. I'm being careful to remind you to stay within the confines of what science actually can do. You've confused it with God, and that's not a good thing.

David said...

"Apparently you're not quite realising that the questions you have yet to answer eviscerate your position at a very fundamental level."

You have your assumptions, I have mine. Shrug.

Rhology said...

And if mine are true, we can know stuff. If yours are true, we can't.