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Creationism in popular culture: NYT culture critic visits creation museum

When I first turned to read Edward Rothstein’s account in the New York Times’ Arts section of the just-opened creation museum at Petersburg, Kentucky, I gritted my teeth in advance.

I have little use for creation museums, but way, way less use for self-regarding, overaged art twerps who pretend superiority to millions of people who do real jobs for a living. So, I thought, Die. Twerp. Die. Before the cat gets you.

Well, I was overreacting, I am glad to say! Rothstein’s review is thoughtful and his reflections are of genuine use to those who want some idea of what they might see at a creation museum – and how it differs from a Church of Darwin museum:

The Creation Museum actually stands the natural history museum on its head. Natural history museums developed out of the Enlightenment: encyclopedic collections of natural objects were made subject to ever more searching forms of inquiry and organization. The natural history museum gave order to the natural world, taming its seeming chaos with the principles of human reason. And Darwin’s theory — which gave life a compelling order in time as well as space — became central to its purpose. Put on display was the prehistory of civilization, seeming to allude not just to the evolution of species but also cultures (which is why “primitive” cultures were long part of its domain). The natural history museum is a hall of human origins.

The Creation Museum has a similar interest in dramatizing origins, but sees natural history as divine history. And now that many museums have also become temples to various American ethnic and sociological groups, why not a museum for the millions who believe that the Earth is less than 6,000 years old and was created in six days?

Rothstein, a good multiculturalist, makes clear that, if you grant the premises of multiculturalism, the creationists are as entitled to tell their own story using their own funds as any other cultural group. (Incidentally, Darwinist museums receive considerable public funds, which creates an interesting conundrum when so many Darwinists treat their convictions as an anti-theistic religion.)

And, if you are not a frothing Darwinist, it is not always clear who is right:

Nature here is not “red in tooth and claw,” as Tennyson asserted. In fact at first it seems almost as genteel as Eden’s dinosaurs. We learn that chameleons, for example, change colors not because that serves as a survival mechanism, but “to ‘talk’ to other chameleons, to show off their mood, and to adjust to heat and light.”

The creationists could well be right about the chameleons. Darwinian theory needs the colour change to be a survival mechanism and interprets just about everything in that light. The chameleon itself may not have any such need. If you think that everything about life forms exists in some relation to a survival mechanism, you have spent too much time among Darwinists.

One thing that Rothstein’s review illustrates is the way in which popular American evangelical culture has become technically mainstream and innovative – and that’s not typically a sign of weakness:

Whether you are willing to grant the premises of this museum almost becomes irrelevant as you are drawn into its mixture of spectacle and narrative. Its 60,000 square feet of exhibits are often stunningly designed by Patrick Marsh, who, like the entire museum staff, declares adherence to the ministry’s views; he evidently also knows the lure of secular sensations, since he designed the “Jaws” and “King Kong” attractions at Universal Studios in Florida.

Well, the museum, a short drive from the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky Airport, hopes for a quarter of a million visitors a year. We’ll see.

Also, at the Post-Darwinist:

Would Francis Crick be allowed to speculate on extraterrestrial origin of life today? Interesting comment from Beast Rabban. By the way, does anyone know who Beast Rabban is, and if he is really a beast? Of what type? Social or antisocial? He has obviously put a lot of thought into the ID controversy.

At the Mindful Hack:

Fruit flies and free will – and now hornets: Insects triumph over mechanistic interpretations

Why you do NOT need to be a creationist to disbelieve in evolutionary psychology. Common sense will do just fine.

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47 Responses to Creationism in popular culture: NYT culture critic visits creation museum

  1. “Darwinian theory needs the colour change to be a survival mechanism and interprets just about everything in that light.”

    I find the whole “survival for survival’s sake” world view to be extremely narrow-minded. Not to mention dull, boring and useless.

    Why should we survive in a nature that is completely indifferent to man and without ultimate purpose?

    There is no answer from the materialists on that question.

    If surviving is all there is (and to say that we survive to propagate our genes is merely a different way of saying the same), then what a joke life is. All our illusions of purpose, even “proximate purpose” as Provine says, are still just illusions in the end.

    Strangely enough, psychology teaches that people who are living in an illusion (who believe that life’s design and purpose are an illusion) and yet act as though it were not an illusion, are mentally ill.

    So, atheistic Darwinism leads to mental illness! Howbeit, of a socially acceptable form since if you don’t agree with this view of life you are supposed to be the mentally ill one according to the materialists! Very strange indeed.

    When you think about it that explains a lot. It explains why Dawkins and all the rest of the materialists write books they obviously believe have some ultimate purpose. They act as though there is real purpose all while denying it. It’s called insanity in any other domain but philo and methodological naturalism.

    “Common sense will do just fine.”
    Absolutely. Meaning that Darwinists either don’t use or don’t have much of that.

  2. …stunningly designed by Patrick Marsh…

    The difference between creationism and ID – creationists are willing to identify the designer;-)

  3. Throwing out a serious question for discussion relating to the post:

    What are the chances of the Discovery Institute making a statement on the creation museum, e.g. that they differ with AiG’s approach to science and point out that some of their exibits significantly contrast with the scientific consensus??

  4. O’Leary wrote:

    “Why you do NOT need to be a creationist to disbelieve in evolutionary psychology. Common sense will do just fine.”

    In a few of the comments I’ve left on this blog, I’ve admitted that I have precious little, if any, education in the sciences. I’m a graphic artist, fer cryin’ out loud. So let me re-iterate that and you all can take the balance of my comments for whatever they’re worth. And that might not be much.

    It seems to me that the biggest barrier between creationists and the majority of IDers is the question of the age of the universe. That and the fact that IDers don’t get their start from Biblical text. It also seems to me that occasionally at least, some supporters of ID seem to look down their noses at creationists, and this seems to manifest itself in what seems to me to be derogatory remarks regarding creationists’ belief in a young Earth. And I took a couple of Denyse O’Leary’s comments as very gentle examples of that. The quote above, for example, could be taken to imply that creationists don’t employ common sense. (Please forgive me, Ms. O’Leary, if that’s not what you meant)

    Now, I tend to believe–or at least for the time being I have no difficulty believing–in a young Earth. And I find it quite sensible to think that a God who can design and create an entire universe from nothing could do it in a blink of an eye just as easily as He could do it in a billion years. Therefore I also have no problem believing He could do it in 6 days. And I assume that IDers who are also theists would agree with me on that basic point, as long as they understand, as I do, that this doesn’t necessarily mean He actually DID create the universe in 6 days.

    Now I’m generally aware of some arguments for an old Earth. Starlight and the speed of light, radiometric dating, etc. And I’m also aware that many, even the vast majority of the most visible, credible ID proponents believe in an old Earth. It’s my understanding that Dr. Dembski is one such example. Michael Behe, Stephen Meyer and Jonathan Wells also come to mind. And given these folks’ contributions and extraordinary clear-thinking with regard to the ID/Darwinism debate, I tend to give their opinions about such matters a lot of weight. I figure that if these folks are not willing to fall for Darwinism just because other scientists do, they’re not likely to “fall for” an old Earth either unless there really is credible, reasonable evidence to support it. I’m also aware of several lines of arguments that claim to reconcile an old Earth with Biblical text.

    And so I persist in my tendency to accept a young Earth with great caution… fortunately for all of us, in the end it probably doesn’t matter much except that we would all like to know.

    Why do I persist, cautiously or otherwise? I suppose the safest way to express it is this: because I realize that evidence doesn’t equal PROOF. I also realize that while extrapolations may be reasonable and may be based on reasonable assumptions, they’re not the same as BEING THERE. Our instruments only measure what’s happening here and NOW. If I look at the thermometer on the front porch, it only tells me what the temperature is NOW. It doesn’t tell me what the temperature was 15 minutes ago. If my thermometer was there 15 minutes ago and I looked at it then and recorded it, that’s a different story. But looking at it NOW can’t tell me how hot it was THEN. Is that not common sense?

    I’m also buoyed somewhat by some of what appear to be evidences for a young Earth. (again, evidence doesn’t equal proof)

    I guess if I have a question here, it’s this: For those of you who are convinced in an old Earth, what is it that convinces you? And please don’t take that as an obstinate challenge… I’m genuinely looking for the answer. What is it that I’m missing?

    Thank you all.

  5. TRoutMac,

    On the Old Earth side, I think the point was once brought up about super novae and how G-d would have had to create the universe with in-transit light from events that never happened. To me, this is a good point and although I could point out several answers to this challenge, none of them are elegant enough to not appear ad hoc to me.

    On the YE side, I see the point of Lee Spetner, who discussed Rabbis who came to the conclusion that Torah taught a non-infinitely aged universe even when the best scientific consensus had overwhelming evidence for an infinitely aged universe. They saw that the best science came to the wrong conclusion, and so rather than conform their theology to the “facts” as many Aristotelean Christians did, they simply rejected an infinitely aged universe based on principle. And in doing so, they were eventually vindicated. If they had “adapted”, they would have had to been corrected a second time.

    Also, there was at least one peer-reviewed article from ICR (I believe) that made an actual prediction on gas deposits in a certain crystal based on a 6000yr model, and the data actually aligned with their prediction. Not a lot to go on, but progress.

    For me, I am inclined to a Setterfield type young earth, with a slowing speed of light. My belief in a young earth is very tentative, and is mostly due to faith rather than facts. I simply trust that the Tanakh isn’t misleading on that point; we’ll see if I’m wrong or proved right in the end.

  6. Additional caveat: I can also see an implied gap of unspecified duration between the creation of the cosmos and of life on earth.

    I guess I can sum up by saying I believe in a distinct creation of man, a literal Adam and Eve, and a YEC view from Adam onward. What happened before then I am more agnostic on.

  7. Atom, I think you and I are roughly on the same page and I appreciate your weighing in. Your ICR citation might refer to the RATE project, and I have a DVD produced by them which appears to do a good job of explaining the issues and winds up using helium as a clock, which gets them to a 6000 year old Earth. I forget exactly how… my brain isn’t quite in that mode right now. Again, I must constantly remind myself that evidence doesn’t equal proof.

    The thing that puzzles me about the starlight arguments, and I’d love to see some comments about this, is that those arguments appear to rely on a constant speed of light. (you mentioned Setterfield’s ideas about a slowing speed of light)

    Well, speed relates to movement compared with TIME. Now it’s my understanding that Einstein’s theory found that time elapses at a different rate depending upon how far you are from a source of gravity. If I’ve misunderstood that, I apologize. It’s also my understanding that this is widely accepted and supported. So my question is this: if we can look at light from a given star and say that the light from that star took x-million years to get here, how can we know that if time elapses at different rates all along the path that light takes, according to how near or far that path is from a source of gravity? This may seem like an ignorant question… I hope it doesn’t, but I’m prepared to learn that it is. But that would seem, on the surface, to make it impossible to calculate how long that light took to get here… doesn’t it? Doesn’t that render the starlight argument moot? If not, why not? Again, what am I missing?

    I mean, sure… maybe it’s true and reasonable that the speed of light has always been 186,000 miles per second. But if the length of a second changes as you pass through deep space, far removed from any gravity source, then of what use is it to say that light travels at 186,000 miles per second?

    Thanks again.

  8. Atom: “I am inclined to a Setterfield type young earth, with a slowing speed of light.”

    I thought about this a fair bit about ten years ago, and realized the slowing speed of light explanation has a problem I’ve not seen discussed elsewhere.

    Let’s assume that this really were a 10000 year-old universe, on the order of 10 billion light-years to the most distant galaxies (a distance that has not changed appreciably since creation) and the light we see from those galaxies is not part of the creation event (e.g. what we see records real events that occurred post-creation, not history created out of nothing in transit).

    In order for the light to be seen by us now, it would have had to make most of its journey at a time when the speed of light was considerably faster, and it has slowed down in transit.

    However, there is an apparent “time dilation affect” (not related to relativity) that is equal to the ratio of the speed of light now to the speed of light when the event occurred, because we are “playing back the tape” so to speak, at a much slower rate than when it was created. This has nothing to do with the frequency of the light. If you drop objects at a rate of one per second onto a fast-moving conveyor belt, then slow down the belt, the objects go by you much more slowly than once per second. Clocks observed from far away should appear to run slower.

    Using any formula you want for the change in the speed of light over time since creation, you have the same problem: the slowing of observed history climbs to a factor of a thousand or more at galactic distances. By this rule, events in the Andromeda galaxy should appear to be appeared to be slowed down by a factor of a hundred thousand, and in fact nothing we see from there would have happened more than 5-10 years after the creation.

  9. I just looked at my notes again, and, using the sec^2(kt) formula suggested by Barry Setterfield for the slow-down in light speed (beginning at infinite speed for the moment of creation, and with k = pi/2/(12000 yrs), then the light we see now from the Andromeda galaxy would have been emitted just 4.5 hours after the moment of creation! Changing the formula doesn’t produce a qualitatively better solution.

  10. Interesting points SCheeseman.

    If you drop objects at a rate of one per second onto a fast-moving conveyor belt

    I am not well-versed in astro-physics or cosmology (hence, my sticking to a belief formed mostly by faith in this special case) but I do believe that the rates of radioactive decay and photon emission are also considered by the Setterfield model, which would tie into your constant “one per second” type of assumption and dilemma.

    Sal posted an overview at youngcosmos.com that might be worth checking out. I don’t have the physics acumen to be dogmatically convinced either way, so these just represent my leanings and hunches.

  11. Atom, “For me, I am inclined to a Setterfield type young earth, with a slowing speed of light.”

    A guy like me, who has no commitment to *any* sort of model whatsoever, is puzzled by, what I consider, rather stained attemped to rationalize a particular interpretation of a 3000 year old document. A friend of mine zealously believes in the gap theory, that the current order was indeed formed in 6 24-hour periods, but that there was another age prior to the current, where all the dinos lived, and what was , in effect, a sort of trial and error period for the proximate creators to get their stuff just right.

    I find his view just as plausible than the fundy view that says dinos walked in Eden with the naked couple. And why not? The text itself neither promotes nor forbids such a view.

    Why be dogmatic? Nobody here was there to see what really happened. The Bible is obviously silence. Why can’t the fundies be silent also?

  12. the slowing of observed history climbs to a factor of a thousand or more at galactic distances. By this rule, events in the Andromeda galaxy should appear to be appeared to be slowed down by a factor of a hundred thousand, and in fact nothing we see from there would have happened more than 5-10 years after the creation.

    We do see time dilation for supernovae. The farther the supernova, the more slow motion we see. Exactly as Setterfield theory would suggest. Unfortunately, this is also explainable by Lorentz-Einstein transformation as predicted by the Big Bang. Outcome: stalemate between Setterfield and Big Bang on that point.

    I would like to remind the reader that I am building a Website so we can have these discussions. Anyone with technical web/blog building ability, I would welcome your help.

    Please visit http://www.YoungCosmos.com there is thread there on webmechanics. I now have time to devote to this project after being off of it for 4 months. Please let me know if you can assist in this project. We can have quite a lot of fun with this website/blog.

    By the way, AiG is negative on Setterfield. A question has been fielded as to wether the DI should criticize AiG. I’m a YEC (85% anyway) and I’ll criticize AiG.

    Let’s get the website going so we can start discussing interesting issues.

    Salvador

  13. Getting back to the original topic, one aspect lacking from both the Creationist and Darwinist museum approaches is the thesis of the Privileged Planet, since many of the arguments rely on old-earth cosmology with design implications. The YEC approach loses entirely all arguments based on nucleosynthesis, galactic expansion, or our galactic orbit, not to mention the origin of the moon, radioactivity in the earth etc. An ID-based museum would involve some heavy re-labelling, but you wouldn’t have to move the whole dinosaur section beside the pre-historic arts and crafts.

  14. SCordova: “We do see time dilation for supernovae. The farther the supernova, the more slow motion we see. Exactly as Setterfield theory would suggest.”

    Hi Sal. Actually, its not exactly at all. If you do the math the factor is not a few percent different, it’s more like a million percent different when you get a couple of million light years away. How much observed history can you see if the light that is arriving is only 4-5 hours after the creation of the universe (which is what the math tells you when you integrate the change in velocity by the path travelled going backwards in time)?

    I’ve joined the YoungCosmos web site, and would be glad to send you the original paper I wrote on this, including the math, if you send me an e-mail address… you should be able to get it from this blog or from Denyse.

  15. SCheesman,

    Post your thoughts the open thread at YoungCosmos. Things are a bit unstructured there for now but not for ever, God willing.

    So please post. When things get better, we can cut and paste an link.

    I welcome reasoned criticisms of YEC theory.

  16. does anyone know who Beast Rabban is, and if he is really a beast? Of what type? Social or antisocial? He has obviously put a lot of thought into the ID controversy.

    Denise:

    Indeed he has. And will continue to do so. Beast Rabban is from the UK and writes guest articles for JP Holdings site, Tektonics, as well as the Atheism Sucks blog. He is not a beastly persona, but you might get slashed if you’re a fundy atheist. I got permission from him through a mutual contact for posting one of his devastating critiques of Richard Dawkins. He is difficult to shake down in person or email.

    The Beast is either someone who knows Biblical scholarship and say, the entire history of Church dealings with science back and forth or has much spare time on his hands to lay claim to such. Richard Dawkins may know science, but he looks like a child fiddling with crayloa crayons when pondering the nature of God and Church and the interrelations of these to science.

    http://wakepedia.blogspot.com/.....beast.html

  17. 17

    I find it interesting that Darwinists will automatically dismiss an established scientists work because of YEC beliefs. For me the example of Dr. J.C. Sanford is a prominent example. Though his work on Genetic Entropy (a field where he has few peers of his caliber) is absolutely crushing to the evolutionary theory, the evolutionists always use his YEC views to dismiss his specialty in genetics. (they did this in the Kansas trial I believe) For me, not being expert in the details, it looks like the fact God created in 6 long periods, rather than 6 24 hour periods, to be a slam dunk. Indeed why would God instantaneously create something with the appearance of extremely old age. This would seem like deception. and, as we all know from childhood, God does not lie!

  18. bornagain77, “This would seem like deception. and, as we all know from childhood, God does not lie!”

    Maybe the devil made it look old.

    Some people think that.

    At any rate, I agree that it seems wierd for the Deity to make a world that is actually young to appear old. But then again, who are we to question? Maybe God doesn’t consider this to be lying, per se. When Jesus asked the two guys on the Emmaus Road “what things?” was he being deceptive? If he was omniscient, he already knew “what things.” Why then would he ask a “deceptive” question? Maybe this sort of “deception” is not considered lying. When Yahweh sent out a “lying spirit” to Israel, who’s the culpable one here? Maybe Yahweh doesn’t lie directly, but it would appear he commissions it on occasion. And let’s not forget the “strong deception” that Paul said God would “send” at the end of the age. According to the Bible, it seems that certain kinds of deceptions are at very least sanctioned by Yahweh, even though he /they be not the proximate cause. (What else in spacetime might be like this?)

    Anyway, one interesting idea to me is this: if one is willing to accept the idea that a young universe was created with an “deceptively” old appearance, why not go all the way and consider a virtual universe? Maybe all those stars and galaxies “out there” are not really “out there” at all. But rather some kind of 3D virtual theatre for us spectations.

    Nothing would surprise me anymore.

  19. Anyway, one interesting idea to me is this: if one is willing to accept the idea that a young universe was created with an “deceptively” old appearance, why not go all the way and consider a virtual universe? Maybe all those stars and galaxies “out there” are not really “out there” at all. But rather some kind of 3D virtual theatre for us spectations.

    Nothing would surprise me anymore.

    Aye–

    But I don’t think the YEC think the stars are some kind of light and magic show to throw people off balance or test their faith. There has been some work on this to the effect that perhaps the early universe had a different speed for light and the movement of matter, etc. Certain deceptions were sanctioned when it came to the mere survival of certain groups and individuals and the deceit that some people have in their own hearts. But in the latter case that is mostly self-generated and has little to do with the structure and appearance of inanimate matter.

    The Astronomical issue IS (or can be) a problem for YEC if we take seriously the notion that the “heavens and earth” were created simultaneously rather than the former coming before the latter. It is one thing to talk about time dilation being different or more extreme than we’re used to in an early creation event, of which obivously we have no direct evidence of anything of the sort. But the REAL problem is that looking into the distant past due to even the current speed of light we see a different STRUCTURE to the galaxies, more primitive, and it is apparent that the current structure like ours developed later on. So whatever the case, things were not always as they were. Hubble has pointed this out in disparaging and brilliant detail.

    As to the other:

    Old?

    But then one is tempted to ask “old compared to WHAT”? People say “things look so OLD”–but what is their reference point other than what they are told? Rocks weather quickly under certain conditions. And Bristlecone pines and redwood trees have a nice green veneer at 1000 years of age. Radiometric dating and other molecular level indicators can tell us–ASSUMING current rates of decay, etc.–that things are old all over. But the visual perception of age CAN be very deceptive.

    After all, I feel honored that most women don’t find me to look 41, much to the chagrin of my wife!

    :)

  20. Tolbert, “But I don’t think the YEC think the stars are some kind of light and magic show to throw people off balance or test their faith.”

    Right. What I mean to say primarily is that if the evidence as it appears today is really and truly misleading in any way, regardless if it was intended that way or not, why cling hard and fast to any particular interpretation of the evidence? Esp when the written account is obviously incomplete? (If anyone doubts this, then please let me know where it specifies when the angels were created.) Anyone who has studied the text in Hebrew should be aware that the verb used in Gen 1:2 allows for (but does not specify) the so-called gap theory. (Which is why the gap theory exists.) Why should fundamentalists fight about a level of specificity that the writer(s) himself/themselves did not intend?

  21. In principle I have no real problem with what you wrote, Mike.

    But the Hebrew word for Day, which is “yom” creates some problems. There ARE some contexts LATER in the Bible where it can mean something akin to an extended period of time. True enough. Just as in old English we have “upon the HOUR” which actually means a brief point in time, no 60 minutes, or “now is the hour” which can be an indefinate period so long as the reference point is an event or SET of events.

    But many scholars think that in the context of Genesis, unfortunately YOM is interpretated as a 24 hour period as it is in almost all other parts of speech in the Scriptures.
    With only a few stylistic exceptions as found in English.

    Your post DOES give pause for thought, and I do appreciate your input.

    As to the angels and even the demonic version “dark side” angels, you are correct in that we are not told specifics, presumably however this means that such details are not important as much as the tasks at hand that each side is charged with. And as far as the dark version of angels, we have some conflicting and controversial explanations as to their very origin (much of it taken from non-canonical texts like John Milton), including the notion that Lucifer’s supposed biography in Isaiah is actually referring to some wicked king as other parts of the account would not match a near-diety in power.

    Be that as it may, it seems some nebulous details are of little use in trying to reverse engineer anyhow. As they don’t pertain to issues of salvation and human origins.

    –SWT

  22. Glad to see that the newspaper review wasn’t the vehement sludge that usually comes on on things like this.

    @mike1962

    1) On angels – I don’t think that’s a fair criticism on Genesis 1, since it is not *mainly* dealing w/ the creation of angels and there abode. If you wrote a one chapter about your childhoood I wouldn’t strike you down for not including everythign would I?

    2) Its not so much about what the text can “possibly” say, but what it does mean ie how bout doing that same word study on the word “day”/yom in Hebrew and you’ll see that when it is added to a number and esp. in the context of “# day” will be “morning and evening” if it is meant to mean anything more.

    3) Here’s the Big Deal*
    If we can selectively decide which texts to take as allegory instead of what is actually there (ie not that ie POSSIBLY can mean long periods, but what it DOES say), why stop at ch 1? Did some snake really talk to 2 naked people made from the Dirt? Sounds like another allegory to me right? I don’t think unless, the author wanted us to, decide when something is an allegory esp when its an outside standard as a question.

  23. 23

    I remember one thing that help me with what the evidence was telling me compared to what the scriptures were telling me was when I pointed out to my Grandfather, when I was 12 years old, that the evidence around us indicated a lot longer than 6000 yars ago. I never forget what he told me. He said, “But remember the scripture also says (paraphrase of course)…:”never forget one thing that for God a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day”.

  24. If the ABC news poll indicates 60% are YEC, what does that say about how ABC should do news reporting if they wish to remain profitable!

    To make money, they ought to be careful not to denigrate 60% of the population that are a source of their income. News outlets can still be responsible in reporting, but they better be careful not to denigrate 60% of the nation as being backward when maybe that block of 60% are not as dumb as they suppose.

    The fact the media is warming to YECs (the underdogs) bodes well for ID.

    The YECs need to become a bit more media savvy. I don’t think Ken Ham is a good ambassador for YEC to the rest of the world, he’s good for his own clique, but not for the undecided middle.

    Who would be a great YEC? Hmmmmmm……

    The great one regrettably passed away. He put Dawkins on his arse in debate, the Huxley Memorial debate in Oxford. After that debate, Dawkins decided he ought not to debate anymore. That’s been true for almost 20 years.

    The YEC I had in mind was A.E – Wilder-Smith PhD PhD PhD (that’s right, 3 science PhD including one from Oxford). Wilder-Smith PhD PhD PhD crushed Dawkins PhD in debate.

    Who would be Wilder-Smith’s successor? Hmm, Walter Brown! Indeed Brown is an MIT PhD and an National Science Foundation Fellow.

  25. jpark320, “On angels – I don’t think that’s a fair criticism on Genesis 1″

    I wasn’t criticizing it. Merely pointing out that it is an incomplete record of creation.

  26. @ Mike 1962

    That is another good point.

    But isn’t the account complete in regards to # of days?

    In other words, if God wanted to describe the creation of the world in one chapter and that He did it in 6 days, isn’t Genesis 1 the most succinct, well outlined, summarization of what happened?

    I love the healthy dialogue and it helps me think about Scripture more. I’m glad this isn’t something necessary for faith/salvation!

  27. What are the chances of the Discovery Institute making a statement on the creation museum, e.g. that they differ with AiG’s approach to science and point out that some of their exibits significantly contrast with the scientific consensus??

    Somewhere between slim and none, I’m thinking more towards the none end of the scale. But frankly materialists/Darwinists have only themselves to blame.

    If they could admit to the possibility of design, and then take a look at the evidence, the evidence for design often depends on a model which rejects a young earth. Just think about the Privileged Planet. Either that book is unscientific and largely false, or YEC is false. No YEC can logically accept both the arguments of the book and hold to a YEC position. That book is one of the greatest modern treatises against young earth creationism, but no one seems to know it yet.

  28. TRoutMac:

    I guess if I have a question here, it’s this: For those of you who are convinced in an old Earth, what is it that convinces you?

    Read The Privileged Planet. Either the science and evidence it amasses in great detail are bogus, or the universe and the earth are older than 6000 years.

    Now, I’ll admit that I (unlike some) don’t have any real theological problem with God creating a universe and an earth that really does look old. But most YEC’s jsut don’t seem to me to take that position. They claim it looks young and all the evidence. properly understood, points to a young earth. To me, that’s highly irrational.

    Let’s jsut admit that it all looks very old, because really, it does, and that therefore the search for evidence of a young earth is the height of foolishness. It doesn’t exist.

  29. Outcome: stalemate between Setterfield and Big Bang on that point.

    Fortunately we do not compare competing theories on a single point. To continue your analogy, just because neither of us can move our king onto an adjacent square, it does not follow that there is any sort of stalemate in any rational sense of the term.

  30. If we can selectively decide which texts to take as allegory instead of what is actually there…

    But what if what is actually there, actually is allegory?

    Allegory does not come in “allegorical” language.

  31. Sal and Mung, thanks for considering my question. I would not expect the DI to criticise any other orginisation, that would be counterproductive in my veiw.

    However, given that in the past Stephen Meyer has said that ID is ’180 degrees’ different from creationism and given that the creation museum is a topical issue, I think it would be a wonderful opportunity for the DI to stake out where and why they differ from the creationist approach.

  32. Sal – I agree with you about Wilder-Smith. He was brilliant and eloquent – it’s a shame he isn’t still around.

    I got a copy of that Oxford debate on CD and have downloaded the audio available on his site. He’s a real delight to listen to. As for who can fill his shoes today? That’s a tall order – I don’t know….

  33. jpark320, “But isn’t the account complete in regards to # of days?”

    Of the current age, yes, it would seem.

    Note that the text does not mention the “sons of God” who “shouted for joy” at the laying of the earth’s “foundation”. (Job 38:7 which arguably predates the Torah itself.) If you throw that into the mix, one has to wonder where in Gen 1 the creation of these “sons of God” would fit, who already existed when the “foundation stone” of the earth is “laid.”

    If you take other parts of the Hebrew Bible, the Gen 1 narrative is obviously incomplete. And if it is incomplete about the “sons of God”, it may be incomplete about other things, like perhaps a prior age that included the dinosaurs that is not at all covered in Genesis 1 (except perhaps to say it may have *became* a waste and desolation, in verse 2.) It is obviously silent about where the talking serpent came from, and what he was doing opposing God in the Garden.

    My point is this: The “six days” may indeed be real 24 hour days. But these days may have nothing at all to do with dinosaur bones, and a fossil record of progressive development of various species. In other words, the OECs and the YECs may be partially right about different things. The earth may be up to five billion years old, with a lot of hidden history, and the six days may only refer to the current age, which started 6000 years ago or so.

    (The so-called “gap theory” seems to be a bit wrong headed about the creation mentioned in Gen 1:1 given than the “heavens” is referred to in verse 8 as something apparently ordained at that time. IOW, “heavens” does not seem to refer to the cosmos at large, but rather the “sky”. Yes, the “stars” are mentioned in verse 16, but note that the Hebrew word “asah” does not necessarily indicate beginning of existence, but rather an “ordination”. The stars may have already existed and simply had come into view of the earth at that time because of the clearing of the atmosphere.)

    Of course, ID need not commit to any of these, being theology independent.

  34. Thanks for the discussion, folks. I have some further comments, since many questions and comments have been raised about Biblical interpretation.

    It seems difficult, in my view, to make those 6 days into long time periods. One reason is this: Genesis 2:2 says that on the seventh day God rested. Not coincidentally, in the Mosaic Law God prescribes a day of rest… the sabbath. It seems obvious to me that this is patterned after the days of creation. If the days of Genesis are really extended periods of time, then how long, exactly, is the sabbath supposed to be?

    Now, I won’t claim that this is proof of 24 hour days, but it ought to at least make you scratch your head. It’s an example of how there are clues elsewhere that can help steer our interpretation of Genesis.

    Another example pertains to the flood. Some of you might believe the flood was local, not worldwide. However, aside from the fact that the Genesis account says it was worldwide… if you insist on taking that as allegory, you run into a fairly large problem a little later on in Genesis 8 when God promises he will never again flood the Earth. If the flood was localized, and the Noahic Covenant was God promising to never again wipe out living things with local floods, then obviously God has violated His promise thousands if not millions of times since then because there have been, and continues to be, local floods. So either God’s broken His promise or the flood was worldwide. Seems that those are the only choices.

    Now maybe you want to take the Noahic Covenant as allegory, too. But in that case I would have to ask how you know when to stop interpreting as allegory? Why not just throw the whole book out the window?

    These are among the reasons why I tend to stick to the YEC side of things.

    There was some talk about time dilation, which is the issue I raised in my earlier comments, but I’m still confused about that because folks seem to still be saying that we know how long it takes light to go from there to there, even though we (seem to be) admitting that time is not a fixed, known quantity. Obviously, and I don’t mind saying, I have a lot to learn about this and so I’ll persist in my cautious bent toward YEC, admitting that for now, (and like Atom) I hold that view largely on faith.

    Also, there’s been much said about God making the universe “appear” old. I think there’s a difference between making it appear old and simply making it difficult to determine how old it is. And I think it’s obvious that God has not seen fit to make it easy for us to determine with any degree of certainty how old the universe is. I view that as a sort of test of one’s faith in God.

    One other observation is that most folks on this blog agree enthusiastically that the scientific community as a whole (at least in biology, anyway) have been largely lead astray and duped by Darwinism and many of those folks are persisting and actually attempting to perpetuate that theory, unworkable though it may be. Well, if we agree that can happen, and HAS happened, in one field of science, why should we surprised to find that it’s happened in ANOTHER field of science?

    And isn’t it a coincidence that the one theory that we’re all so bent on debunking relies so heavily on the other theory? So again, is it really so unreasonable and silly, as some have suggested, to question these old Earth arguments?

    And thank you, Sam Chen, for the link to your youngcosmos blog. Perhaps I’ll learn a lot more there so that I don’t have to “pollute” this blog with an issue that’s not all that pertinent to its purpose.

  35. Sal and Mung, thanks for considering my question. I would not expect the DI to criticise any other orginisation, that would be counterproductive in my veiw.

    One of the signatories of the Dissent from Darwin list has also expressed critcisms of YEC. See: Criticism of CDK from brother Stephen J. Cheesman

  36. Aw, geez… do I ever feel stupid. I meant Sal Cordova. Thank you Sal Cordova for providing that link to young cosmos!! Sorry about that, Sal… my brain slipped a cog.

  37. troutmac, “It seems difficult, in my view, to make those 6 days into long time periods.”

    You don’t have to. Though not specified, it is certainly allowed by the text itself that there were prior ages to this one, and that Genesis 1 refers only to this age.

  38. mike1962 wrote:
    “You don’t have to. Though not specified, it is certainly allowed by the text itself that there were prior ages to this one, and that Genesis 1 refers only to this age.”

    Yes, the gap theory. I agree that if the universe and the Earth really are old, that implied gap is probably the best candidate to accommodate the extra time. I’m open to the gap theory, or some permutation of it. I don’t think I’m open to the “day-age” theory, theory.

    Hey, what about the soft tissues in the T-Rex femur that they found in Montana in 2002? Do old-Earthers not view that as a threat? Do we have reason to believe that soft tissues really can survive fossilization through 65 million years? Should the soft tissues inside that femur serve as proof that such material CAN be preserved for 65 million years? Or should it make us question whether the 65 million year date for dinos is correct?

    Thanks again. Interesting discussion.

  39. I see that the Creation Museum is still causing a comotion among unguided evolutionists. The pandanians are going nuts over it.

  40. What people don’t realize is the financial power of the YEC movement.

    Discovery Institute CSC annual budget: about 800,000

    YEC Annual Budget (my estimate): 20,000,000 to 50,000,000 world-wide and probably growing

    The Darwinists had their hands full with the tiny ID movement, now the YECs are coming back stronger than ever. The Darwinists must now defend themselves on two fronts (ID and YEC) in the USA, and more fronts world wide…..

    What needs to happen is to crush the political and financial clout of the Darwinists. No more NSF or taxpayer monies to fund their scientifically useless and socially harmful enterprise.

    The Darwinists also grossly underestimate the abilities of the modern YECs to debate. 20 years ago the YECs were easy pickins, not any more. That’s because some major developments in science have come through for the YECs where they most needed it:

    1. Doubts about the Big Bang

    2. Secular Physcists advocating Variable Speed of Light theories

    It’s a whole new ballgame.

  41. YEC Annual Budget (my estimate): 20,000,000 to 50,000,000 world-wide and probably growing

    True but the Darwinist budget is probably in the billions if you consider almost every researcher in the fields of biology, molecular biology, astronomey, astrophysics, geology, paleontology, and evolution at every university world wide and the secular media that makes huge fanfare out of any piddling discovery.

  42. Dr. Walt Brown’s site has many interesting articles, including this link to Galaxies.

    http://www.creationscience.com.....#wp1257493

    “The arms in these six representative spiral galaxies have about the same amount of twist. Their distances from Earth are shown in light-years. (One light-year, the distance light travels in one year, equals 5,879,000,000,000 miles.) [the six distances are 2, 18, 25, 32, 65, 106 ly] For the light from all galaxies to arrive at Earth tonight, the more distant galaxies, which had to release their light long before the closer galaxies, did not have as much time to rotate and twist their arms. Therefore, farther galaxies should have less twist. Of course, if light traveled millions of times faster in the past, the farthest galaxies did not have to send their light long before the nearest galaxies.”

    Brown musters quotes to show that a good deal that’s postulated about galaxy formation is speculative or doubtful. I’m just guessing, but it seems to me that knowledge of galaxy formation would constitute a major component in determining the age of the universe. If astronomers don’t know what made innumerable galaxies flat and thin, instead of globular, then perhaps astronomers don’t know as much as they’d like non-specialists to believe.

    Moreover, though the idea of unseen matter existed previously, the trigger for the search for dark matter was the discovery in the mid 70′s by Vera Rubin that ~60 spiral galaxies that she studied showed the stars in the arms rotating at the same velocity as the stars near the center, a completely unexpected result, since that would have caused galaxies to have lost their spiral form in less than a billion years, according to one. This resulted in a concerted effort to find either dark matter or a revised formula for gravity. But of course no mention of revising theories of origin or dating schemes.

    Regarding scriptural testimony, to me one of the more significant difficulties for postulating either an age preceding the current age, or some version of the day-age interpretation of Genesis 1 comes from Mark 10:3-9. Christ based his demands for abiding marital commitment on the fact that “from the beginning of Creation” (apo de arches ktiseos) “male and female He made them” quoting Genesis. To me (and I suspect to most YEC folk) that leaves no room for 4.5 billion years (much less 15 billion years) prior to the creation of humans. The tenor of the NT leads me to conclude the authors believed in recent Creation and the universal Noahic flood, including their testimony of Christ.

  43. benkeshet,

    If Gen 1 refers to only the current age (assumption there were prior ages), then Mark 10:3-9 could not be evidence that there isn’t a prior age. The question about Gen 1 has to be solved another way, or perhaps not solved.

  44. Peanut Gallery Notes on all the above:

    People mention a wide variety of things that will probably never be settled to everyone’s satisfaction.
    There is the tension about the new YEC museum that just opened up. I had the link from MSNBC but lost it due to a computer error where I had to shut down, but trust me that Eugenie Scot is probably apoplectic right about now and ready and armed with a petition to counter “creeping theocracy.”

    Beyond this is the disagreement over Scripture and of course the YECs take (vs. IDers) on issues like rocks and fossils and whether “behemoth” was a crocodile or something like a dinosaur. I make no commentary on the proposition of this type except to say that to me the more serious issue is whether we as
    Christians get cowed into thinking that Adam himself was some marvelous allegory or proto human when in fact according to some scholars I ran into he was certainly referred to by Christ as a real person. This being the case, and ancestral lineage meaning everything in OT and NT custom to show the kingship of Christ (both physical and divine) we have a problem on our hands, folks. That to me is far more serious a thorn than starlight contraction or dilation or whether bacterial mechanisms are front-end loaded to later develop funny little eye bulges. Ken Ham for one has been open about what he thinks borders on the apostate in trying to seek “creation compromise” with ID, in that (in his mind) the research programs of ID that refuse to name or procaim the exact Intel Agent are missing the larger point.

    On the other hand I understand the need for DI to remain at a distance from the doctronaire in order to foster a healthy and inclusive approach to DI.

    Others dwell on whether the Bible is cosmologically inaccurate and promotes a realm where the Hebrew authors merely copycatted their NME neighbors and declared, say, that the earth flat (not true, so far as we can tell, see JP Holding’s historical notes on all this) and said the stars could “fall from the sky”, etc. Where in this case it is probably a matter of true allegory. “Flat Earth” is a smear campaign, for example, that according to Rodney Stark (who refuted the notion that the Church gave us “ignorance” during the alleged “dark ages”, when all manner of learning and invention actually took place under noses!) and others, that had its origin in misinterpreted language from Isaiah about the “foundations of the world.”

    Job said mentions the “circle of the earth” and other than allegorical language about foundations (God’s power, etc) there is little evidence that even IF the early Hebrews felt this way, certainly their writings didn’t make manifest a belief in a flat earth. Nor did the issue even come up that often in Church teachings nor was anyone persecuted for all we know, for that kind of belief system. That came from their neighbors, and in point of fact even IF some thought that, no educated Christian from about 100 AD onward thought that, from everything we can tell. And it came from rather fanciful writers like Washington Irving (of Sleepy Hollow fame) who made cute stories with cock-n-bull input about Christopher Columbus and others facing down stern hooded and ignorant Church elders before their voyages. But it was not quite so simple.

    Smear campaigns against Christians are nothing new–but certainly once the full context of things is hashed out it can, if we get lucky, shed light on these kinds of topics. So it is refreshing to have a forum where some things CAN be rolled out for examination where you don’t have the usual jackals calling names and appealing to the NSF for the final word

  45. There is another creation science museam opening in Canada.

    It’s opening in July! See Creation Science Museum

    I wouldn’t count the YECs out. They’ve been the object of derision, and many times, deservedly so, but the new YECs will be a force to be reckoned with. A new weblog is being constrcuted to cover these developments.

    Visit:
    http://www.CreationSafaris.com

    http://www.CreationScience.com

    http://www.YoungCosmos.com

    And remember, it was the YEC A.E Wilder-Smith PhD PhD PhD (from Oxford) who so badly mauled Richard Dawkins in debate, that Dawkins refuses to this day to debate creationists. If Dawkins were up against Walter Brown, Dawkins would be put on his rear end.

  46. It seems difficult, in my view, to make those 6 days into long time periods.

    Indeed. The author is rather obviously framing the creation in a literal week with a literal 6 days. To try to turn that into some “day-age theory” is to recognise this fact while at the same time trying to ignore it. I find such an appoach irrational.

    It certainly fails to capture the original intent of the author. But then, I understand that method of interpretation is out of vogue these days anyways.

  47. […] See also: New York Times visits Creation Museum […]

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