Swiftocracy!: Foundation for the Young Earth

For the last two weeks each of my posts have been based off requests. For more information about how that happened, look here.

“Explain your top 5 most convincing evidences that the earth is relatively young.”

Let’s not dive right into this. Let’s take a little detour first, by unpacking a little syllogism.

1. If the world was created by an non-natural process then science would never discover that fact.

2. The Christian believes that the universe was created in an non-natural process.

3. Therefore, if the Christian is correct, science will never accurately understand how the universe came to be.

If God created the universe than whatever theories the scientists come up with about the origin of the universe will be fundamentally flawed. This is because science works under the idea of “methodological naturalism.” Naturalism, as I’ve mentioned before, is the idea that there is nothing in the universe besides mass, energy, and combinations of the two. No ghosts, gods, souls, or spirits. Methodological naturalism means that as far as performing science is concerned you must behave as is naturalism is correct. Another way of putting it is to say that science is the study of the natural world and must seek natural answers for natural events. If an event is non-natural then science can’t give us a definitive answer about its nature. If a miracle occurred you could not discover it through the scientific method: the best you could do is determine that there is no current scientific explanation for the phenomenon in question. There is nothing wrong with this. Science is a tool that exists to study the world as it naturally occurs. That is its purpose.

Some people take it to mean that because science as a tool must be methodologically natural, and because science has been very successful as a tool, then naturalism must be true. This is an error.  The scientific method by definition can’t tell us anything about the existence of entities or phenomena that are outside of nature. If you want to find out whether such things exist then you must find your evidence for or against outside of science. It’s foolishness to say that the sun does not exist because you cannot sense it with a seismograph or measure it with a voltmeter; after all, they’re the wrong tool for the job. Belief in the sun is not discredited no matter how accurately a voltmeter measures electrical current. In the same way belief in the supernatural is not discredited no matter how well science measures and predicts natural phenomenon.

Now this belief in the supernatural should be understood to be something distinct from what we might call “superstition.” Most superstitions make claims on how the natural world works, and thus fall under the domain of science. The belief that warts can be cured by washing with water from a silver vessel under the light of the full moon, for example, is making a natural claim: if you do X thing then result Y will occur. There is no problem with science proving such a belief to be false because it is a belief about natural events. Science has been effective at disproving superstitions, and because many people conflate the two concepts some believe that science has disproved the supernatural as well. This is a mistake. Superstitions make natural claims about natural phenomena (if you break a mirror you’ll have seven years of bad luck, animals can talk at midnight on Christmas Eve, hearing a screech owl three times in a night means someone will soon die, etc). The supernatural is a belief in non-natural phenomena (free will, a soul, God, objective morality, etc.). To continue the earlier metaphor, a voltmeter is very effective at discovering inaccurate beliefs about voltage, but it can’t tell us anything about justice.

All of this is a long way of making two little points. The first is that science, by definition, cannot prove or disprove the existence of God. The second is that if God was responsible for creating the universe, regardless of whether he did it in 6 days or not, then science alone will never give us an accurate picture of the universe’s origin. It simply can’t. Unless the universe has a purely natural explanation science is helpless to understand how it came to be. If, then, you believe that God does exist and that he did create the universe, then you must agree that the “scientific” explanation is not entirely correct. The Young Earth Creationist (YEC) and the Theistic Evolutionist should agree on this point. The main difference between the two positions is how much trust someone is willing to place in the scientist’s flawed model. Is the secular model only wrong in a few details, or completely inaccurate?

Many Christians put a lot of trust in the ability of scientists to understand what happened in the unobserved past. I would argue that much of this trust is misplaced. We can have absolute confidence in scientific theories that can be observed and experimented on today. This absolute confidence should not be extended to theories that are by their very nature unobservable and impossible to experiment upon. I laid most of this out in a previous post, so I won’t go on about it too much here. The essential point is that trying to understand events that occurred in the unobserved past is very much like trying to solve a murder. In a criminal investigation forensic (that is, scientific) evidence is important but ultimately is secondary to eyewitness testimony and deduction. CSIs can perform experiments on the physical aspects of a crime scene but they cannot experiment with the event itself. That’s why we have detectives. Science can tell us a lot about the physical artifacts we find buried in the ground, but we rely on historians to piece together what actually occurred in ancient times. In the same way scientists can examine the world around us today but they cannot examine or experiment on the past itself. The best they (and the best anyone) can do is to devise models of the past that best explain the most facts about the observable present. In other words, the theory that the world is billions of years old is, by its very nature, not as definite or reliable as the theory that water boils at 100 degrees Celsius at sea level. One has been tested and can still be tested today. The other is a model that has changed many times in the past, and will continue to change as more facts are discovered that must be accounted for.

However, as previously established, YEC is not really a scientific model as it does not follow meet the useful scientific requirement of being methodologically naturalistic. However that does not mean it is an invalid model, just that it is arguably a non-scientific model. Just because it is “unscientific” does not mean it isn’t true. All of history consists of models that are non-scientific in nature because they deal in events that cannot be observed. A historical approach that is methodologically naturalistic begs the question of whether supernatural events have ever occurred in history.  The purpose of historical investigation is to determine whether an event occurred, and how; it is not to understand how the natural world works when left to its own devices. They are different fields that use different tools and have different purposes. Science’s purpose is to create a model of the natural world. History’s is to make a model of the events that have occurred on this world. YEC is in this sense a competing model to the more traditional understanding of the age and origins of the Earth.

We cannot prove either model definitively, but we can compare the two and see which model best explains the world as we know it now. Therefore the best “evidences” in favor of YEC consist of things we can observe today that are better explained by the YEC model than the traditional one.

This post is long enough as it is, and I haven’t even gotten to my evidence yet. Still I feel that this foundation was necessary before we could proceed. I will give my “evidences” starting next Wednesday, and continuing each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday until I am satisfied.  On Monday there will be a post about Horny Toads because of my prior Swiftocracy obligations. It should be fun.

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About Mark Hamilton

I am, in no particular order, a nerd, an aspiring writer, a Christian, an aspiring filmmaker, an avid reader, a male, a YEC, a GM, and a twenty something. I like learning how things are made, finding out how to do things from scratch, and I you can find more of my writing at thepagenebula.wordpress.com

Posted on December 27, 2013, in Swiftocracy!, Young Earth Creationism. Bookmark the permalink. 44 Comments.

  1. YEC is not really a scientific model as it does not follow meet the useful scientific requirement of being methodologically naturalistic.

    Then why do Creationists try to present their ”evidence” as if it is scientifically based?

  2. As requested.
    Please explain how dinosaurs and humans coexisted.
    Please explain how such creatures were once herbivorous and then became carnivorous.
    Thanks, Mark

    • Well I believe that God created all creatures within a short time period. This includes creatures that have since gone extinct (like the dinosaurs) and creatures that are still around today (like the coelacanth or we humans). As for how herbivores may have become carnivores, fortunately I’m not constrained by naturalistic processes. If it happened at all then it was an act of God, just as the creation was an act of God. Now naturally if you don’t believe God exists I don’t expect you to believe that I’m correct about any of this. If God does exist, then it is certainly possible that this could have occurred. This is one of the few occasions where you can accuse me of using “goddidit” as an excuse and be 100% correct.

      • 1.So how is it there have never been any fossil finds of herbivorous T’Rex or Allosaurus.?

        2.And why did your god only change some dinosaurs and leave others, such as Brontosaurus or Stegosaurus.
        3. How did Noah manage to accumulate/accommodate every known dinosaur on the ark?
        4. ACE ( accelerated christian education) schools have picture books of humans riding tame dinosaurs.
        Do you think this is a genuine representation and how do think this happened?
        Furthermore, why do you think no fossils have ever been recovered showing human and dinosaur bones together.- something one would expect if humans had domesticated such animals.

      • 1. I’m really not sure if the teeth would require that much change. It may seem implausible that t-rex could ever have been herbivorous based on it’s teeth, but if you dug up a gorilla or panda bear skull today you would likely conclude that it was a meat eater as well based on the dentation. It’s happened before: people used to think hat mastodons were carnivores because their teeth seemed to be perfect for ripping flesh.
        2. I’m not sure. To maintain an ecological balance?
        3. If you do the math it really isn’t a problem especially considering how Noah would have likely taken juveniles on board since the whole purpose was to give them as long as possible to breed afterwards. A full grown Apatosaurus would be pretty ridiculous on a boat, but a young one would fit quite well.
        4. Theoretically if humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time it is possible that humans could have tamed them and ridden them, but I don’t really know if it would be at all probable.

        As far as not finding human and dinosaur fossils together, that’s not so strange. It’s a rare event when a large land mammal dies in a way that results in fossilization, and many dinosaurs that paleontologists say are contemporary have never been found with their fossils mixed together for that very reason.

      • “‘Yes, I’m not sure”. The prefect scientific answer.

  3. The findings of the BICEP2 telescope have recently been released.
    Seems scientists have confirmation of the Big Bang.

    Oops, there goes the YEC out the window.

    • Yes, I was quite pleased and excited to see that the inflationary model has been confirmed. It is now almost completely implausible that the universe has forever existed in a steady state. These results prove that the universe did indeed have a beginning, and that at one point the universe did not exist. I’d call that I big win for Christianity and Creationism in general.

  4. (Comment removed by Mark)

    Ark I deleted this comment and the last one because they consisted of nothing more than mockery and insults without providing anything constructive. I’ve made my comment policy clear in my About section: I have the final say on what gets published on my blog, and I see no reason why I’m obligated to give you a soapbox to insult me on. If you feel like commenting with something that is “constructive, civil, and good spirited” then be my guest, but if you’re just here to mock then you’ll have to do it on your own blog.

  5. I’d call that I big win for Christianity and Creationism in general.

    Care to provide evidence for this?

    • The simple fact that the universe had a beginning at all is the evidence: that once there was nothing and then suddenly matter and energy appeared. Nothing is capable of causing itself to come into existence, and it has now been proven even more conclusively that there indeed was nothing at all before the big bang occurred. The question is, what caused the big bang? Nothingness by definition can’t cause anything because it is nothing. So what was the something that caused everything?

      Materialists used to believe that the universe was by definition eternal, always existing, and Christians (like Thomas Aquinas) tried making several logical arguments as to why the universe had to have had a beginning. Now those logical arguments have been backed up by science, and even the hardened materialist has to agree that the universe had a beginning and has existed a finite time. The universe itself is not the eternal and always existing foundation of being that atheists once thought it was. But there must be something that has always existed, something that is an uncaused and eternal foundation of the existence of all the caused and finite things we see around us today. Christianity has always held that the universe was finite, and that God is this uncaused and infinite foundation. Now the only recourse of the materialist is to claim that the multiverse is the eternal foundation of the universe. Which is fine, as long as they admit that there is just as much empirical and scientific evidence for the existence of the multiverse as there is for God. Which leads to the question: why do they prefer one non-empirical and unprovable explanation over the other?

      • Nothing is capable of causing itself to come into existence,

        Wrong, and you don’t know enough about quantum mechanics to argue this point.

        Which still leaves ”Godddit”

        God? Fine. Which god, whose god?

        And I reiterate, even if this were the case ( which has not been established) , it still destroys the notion of a young earth and specifically, Young Earth Creationism once and for all.

        So if you wish to agree to disagree on the first point…no problem, but if you are going to claim science justifying your god, God as your refuge for the Big Bang then lets see you apply the same degree of honesty and integrity to defend YEC .

      • “Wrong, and you don’t know enough about quantum mechanics to argue this point.”

        To that I’m going to say, wrong, and you don’t know enough about quantum mechanics if you believe that quantum mechanics allows things cause themselves to come into being, or allow nothing to create something. (For example, if you believe that quantum vacuums are examples of “nothing” then you don’t know enough about quantum mechanics).

        As for YEC, I’m not too worried about cosmological time. It’s always hard to figure out cosmological time anyway because time is relative to speed and space. When space inflates it directly effects time, so what does it even mean to say that the universe expanded into being billions of years ago? From whose perspective are we looking at those billions of years? From what speed? I don’t fret about things like that. In any case, I said that this discovery was a win for Creationism in general, not Young Earth Creationism in particular. The confirmation that the universe has a beginning point strongly supports the idea that this universe is created, and thus supports Creationism in general.

      • No, it is still not a win for Creationism.
        Creationism is a religious belief not a scientific one.
        And as for YEC, well now you are just using semantics and this is not an example of integrity or honesty that I asked for.
        Maybe if you were able to reference one of these scientists that have established confirmation of the Big Bang to back your claims then I might be interested.
        The speed of light is evidence enough for an old earth from any perspective and to try and dance around this merely demonstrates indoctrination and/or shows you are being disingenuous.
        But I doubt you will even make the effort, because it is not in your interest to do so.

      • Actually Creationism is a metaphysical belief. The multiverse hypothesis is also a metaphysical belief. What non-metaphysical explanation do you have for the existance of the universe now that the big bang has been confirmed?

      • I don’t know.
        That is what I call an honest answer.

        What non metaphysical explanation do you have for vegetarian dinosaurs and a 6000 year old earth?

      • It’s fine if you don’t know, but that doesn’t give you much licence to criticise people who actually put forward a theory.

        And I don’t have a non-metaphysical explanation for vegetarian dinosaurs and a 6,000 year old Earth. I’ve been pretty up front about that. My beliefs are based on a whole framework of othere beliefs. If you don’t believe in God then I don’t see any reason at all that you should be a YEC. If you do, and if you believe in the Christian God, then it becomes a possibility and we can discuss whether that’s a plausible possibility or not. That’s why I don’t expect you to become a YEC. I don’t really expect anyone to become a YEC. These YEC posts simply explain why I am a YEC, among other things.

      • You have no theory besides ”Godditit” and no evidence whatsoever to even back this.

        In itself this is no problem but touting it as fact and proselytizing it based on fallacious man made doctrine is irresponsible and insidious.
        And touting it to children is tantamount to physiological abuse.

        However, if you come back and acknowledge this and state you will not push this on kids and agree that any religious choice should be made free of coercion, especially one based on the threat of hell, then we can be mates and even rib each other in a friendly adult fashion and explore aspects of theology & let the scientists sort out the problem of who made the universe.

        If kids are involved at an y level then there is always going to be an issue.

      • I’d like to see where exactly I’ve been proselytizing YEC. I talk about what I believe as a YEC, and what that means, and a few reasons someone might come to believe similarly. As I’ve said many times, I don’t expect to convince anyone who isn’t already a Christian.

        As for kids, it’s a mixed bag. I do agree that religious choices should be made free of coercion. I’d even go so far as to say that a religious belief that is solely the result of coercion isn’t real. But what that means practically is complicated. I believe hell is real, and I believe in YEC, and I’ll teach those beliefs to my kids the same way you would teach your own that there is nothing after death and in an Earth that is billions of years old. You teach you kids what you believe to be true. Now if they decided not to be YECs, or even not to be Christians, there isn’t much I could do about that. I’d be sad but they’d still be my kids.

      • Kids are the deal breaker and we will continue to be at odds.
        We are all entitled to our own opinions…not our own facts.
        Dinosaurs did not coexist with humans.
        Ken Ham is a liar and a fraud and science and paleontology confirms this.

      • I would disagree that Ken Ham is neccesarily a liar even if it does turn out that he is wrong. I believe that he honestly believes the things he teaches.

        As far as kids go, I stand by my right to teach my kids what I believe is true. You certianly have no right to decide what my children are taught. I’m not asking to teach your kids, and I’ll ask you not to teach mine.

      • Their ”right” is exactly the same reason that Muslim fundamentalists use to teach their kids that Jihaad is right and that Allah is waiting for them after they blow themselves to bits.

        This is okay is it?

      • What’s your alternative? Some kind of uni-national goverment board that decides exactly which philosophies and facts should be allowed to be taught to children? Imagine if such a board mandated that naturalistic philosophy was child abuse. Some people will teach their kids things that are wrong, but the solution isn’t to make teaching wrong things equal to child abuse. The solution is to create a society where everyone has access to information and education so that they can make their own decisions about what they’ve been taught as they grow.

      • You mean like teaching children that the earth is flat?
        Should this be allowed?
        How about teaching them the sun revolves around the earth?
        Oh, hold on, they don’t teach this.
        Why? Because it has been established by science that this once held religious dogma is just so much nonsense.
        What about misogyny and rules that women are second class citizens?
        Oh, they still this in certain countries.
        Why don’t you teach this to your kids?
        How about the practice of clitoral circumcision. Or ordinary circumcision for boys?

        You see, when you go down this path you ultimately come to the point where the only thing that is morally right is the truth.
        Not a version of the truth, but a universally accepted truth that is falsifiable; morally and ethically sound and does no harm, physically or physiologically.

        All doctrine based on religion, and worse religious extremism should never be sanctioned or taught to kids.
        By law? Probably Impossible. But maybe not…let’s start with ACE education and circumcision.

  6. Once you accept that there is no ”version” of the truth you can do “your bit” by recognizing that if one wants to choose religion then it should be done as an adult.
    This does not preclude you teaching your kids to be moral, ethical and generally all round nice people.
    But let them choose a religious path when they are old enough to make an informed decision.

    This is the right way t bring up kids. It is the moral and ethical path.

    • Again, I have to ask: do you really want a government board telling you what ideas you’re allowed to teach your children? Because that’s what they have in countries with Sharia law, and I don’t think you’d be too keen to live under that particular board.

      • As I stated. Baby steps. And a resounding YES to banning ACE education and the barbaric [practice of circumcision.

        Oh…unless you believe that circumcision is perfectly okay and should be allowed. Mark. Well, do you?

      • I don’t think there is anything wrong with male circumcise (I’m not circumcised myself, and I don’t plan on circumcising my kids, but I wouldn’t mind if I was or did). Now female circumcision I’m not so okay with as that is pretty serious mutilation to the body that results in some severe damage. Do you have a problem with male circumcision? And if someone’s religion required it would you feel comfortable outright banning that person’s religion?

      • Oh, would I feel comfortable! Would I….
        If an adult wants to do this then fine with me.
        To do this on a child for anything but medical reasons should be an offence punishable by law and should be banned immediately.
        This is blatant child abuse and should be condemned.
        That you discriminate between boys and girls merely shows how much of a sexist you are and how ignorant.
        Do you know how many boys who suffer permanent mutilation or die in South Africa and other African countries every year because of traditional initiation ceremonies?
        And are you even aware of how old circumcision is or even where the tradition began? Or why?

        Banning was considered by the European Council last year, but they balked because of religious pressure. But it was a start, and the issue will be raised again.

      • “That you discriminate between boys and girls merely shows how much of a sexist you are and how ignorant.”

        That you don’t understand the difference between male and female circumcision shows your own ignorance. Here’s a link so you can get educated: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_genital_mutilation

        Though if you don’t have time to read that the short version is that female circumcision would only be analogous to male circumcision if male circumcision involved whacking off the entire penis.

        What’s more amazing to me is that you would support an attempt by a government to essentially ban Orthodox Judaism. I didn’t know that pogroms were considered enlightened these days.

      • You are quickly becoming churlish as is your wont when faced with an untenable problem or insurmountable challenge to your nonsense.
        Where did i say ban Orthodox Judaism?
        It has already been established that the Pentateuch is fiction thus the covenant of circumcision is also fiction.

        The banning of it would be solely on humanitarian grounds and would apply to Muslims as well and any person that was intent on mutilating a child.
        And yes, thank you, I am perfectly aware of the difference between make and female circumcision.
        But thanks for the link. I hope you read it yourself?

        I think we’ll call it quits, now.

      • A ban on male circumcision is essentially a ban on Orthodox Judaism, and Islam as well as you remind me. It seems to me that you’d like to turn the world into a kind of theocracy where any religious practices or philosophical ideas that are different from your own are made illegal: only in your case it would be a kind of “atheocracy.” If the fact that you want to outlaw the transmission of ideas and practices that you disagree with should frighten you. It frightens me, or would if I thought you actually had any political power.

      • r
        I believe religion is for misguided fools. But this is choice. So be it. Leave the children alone.

        Banning circumcision of a male child is not a ban on Orthodox Judaism or Islam you bloody fool. Just wait til the chi,d is over 18 the he can make the decision himself. I am damn sure god will wait. Or do you think your deity is that ego-centric he needs his cohorts mutilated shortly after birth and must have his mark on them?

        If as an adult you want to cut off a piece of your penis, or any other appendage, remove your testicles and become a eunuch, tattoo your bloody face with the words ”Yahweh is King”, that’s fine by me
        Maybe you’d like to decorate the outside walls of your home with paintings of humans riding Triceratops and petting Velociraptors? That too is fine by me.
        A Noah’s Ark in your garden? Grfeat! Then you can prove’ once and for all that you, Mister Mark , can fill it with all the relevant animals. Great!
        And providing it doesn’t annoy the crap out of the neighbors or break any municipal laws I will stand at your shoulder , brother , and defend your right to do so. Nuts as it might seem to me, but that is your business. Not mine.

        I have no desire to enforce my beliefs on anyone and expect the same from anyone else, providing neither of us practice anything that is harmful to another person.

        But children are another matter entirely and they need protecting.
        Leave them alone. They have rights too.
        And those rights include not be subject to abusive practices, be they psychological or physical and that includes ALL forms of abuse, religion as well.

        Are you understanding the issue yet?

      • “I have no desire to enforce my beliefs on anyone and expect the same from anyone else”

        I’ve told you straight up that I don’t want to teach your children about heaven and hell: and yet you want to enforce your own beliefs on me and them, and encode your beliefs into laws that all must follow. Seems a mite hypocritical.

        I did not realize that you had a special right to decide what happens to everyone else’s children. Does this mean that I have a right over what happens to your children? Does this mean that an individual who believes vaccines cause autism can prevent you from giving your children vaccinations against their will? Does this mean that the pro or anti GMO activists can decide exactly what kind of food your children are allowed to eat? Does this mean that the Christians and Muslims should be allowed to decide what ideas you teach your own children?

        I don’t want to do anything to your kids, but you should keep your paws off of mine, and everyone else’s at that.

      • If this is what you really think extending rights to look after the well being of children is about then you need help. Seriously.

        The rights of the child come before the rights of the parent over that child, and thus there are already laws in place ( in many countries around the globe) against corporal punishment and other areas of abuse.

        You believe you have the right to indoctrinate your child with psychologically damaging doctrine merely because you made them?
        You are delusional.

        Are you seriously telling me that if you knew the neighbours were practicing Satanists with kids involved you would not contact local authorities?

        What if you knew of several Zulu families that practised traditional circumcision ( this is done without medical supervision, performed by an elder with a knife.) Would you sit idly by knowing that many young boys die every year because of this barbaric practice.

        And what of female circumcision> It is still practised.
        You think it is the parents” right” to harm a child in this fashion?

        You need to learn what human rights really means Mark.
        You don’t own your children. And the day society considers your religious practices detrimental then you will be held responsible.

        Scientology has been outlawed in several countries.
        Don’t think your religion,one way or another, wont eventually suffer the same fate.

      • “your child with psychologically damaging doctrine”

        I’d like to see some evidence that the idea that there is a heaven and hell is psychologically damaging, and if it is that it’s more damaging than the idea that death means annihilation.

        I agree that children should be protected from harm: what I disagree with is your contention that ideas can be harmful enough to warrant banning them outright. That’s fundamentalist thinking, and it’s no good for a free and healthy society.

        And I think bringing up how bad the medical system is in Africa as a reason to support banning circumcision in the EU isn’t the best argument.

      • You’re probably right…

  7. Oh, and I asked someone who is a bit more clued up than I am regarding the Big Bang thingy.
    This sis what she had to say..

    . As for proof of “God” – are you F’n kidding me? It solidifies scientific speculation,validates our 14 billion year old universe and doesn’t leave bible thumpin’ nit wits a leg to stand on.

    Thoughts?

    • I don’t see him providing a bit of evidence to support his assertation that “it doesn’t leave bible thumpin’ nit wits a leg to stand on.” Can you tell me what non-metaphysical explanation he has for the origin of the universe? Before the big bang theory came about materialists didn’t need a metaphysical explanation for the universe’s existence. Now they must admit that either something exists apart from the universe we can observe, or they must believe that nothing can produce something which is a logically incoherent position.

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