Re: Talking to YECers

Steven Schimmrich (s-schim@students.uiuc.edu)
Sat, 22 Mar 1997 10:31:31 -0600 (CST)

Bill Frix (wfrix@engr.jbu.edu) wrote in reply to Burgy:

> I am a YECer. I am a scientist. I am a YECer BECAUSE I am a
> scientist. I am actually getting tired of listening to and writing
> to this listserv because I am tired of hearing YEC bashing. I have
> attempted to listen to both sides of the arguments and compared them
> to what I know from scientific work and my readings. In truth, the
> scientific philosophy of the YEC proponents make as much sense and
> have as many problems as the philosophy all of you are drumming from
> your pulpits.

I have the opposite experience. I love lists like this because they're
the only place I can interact with Christians in science. In the geology
department here at my university, I'm surrounded by atheists, who often mock
and deride Christianity and Christians, and at church I'msurrounded by young-
earth creationists who know little to nothing about science (my fault for
theologically being an evangelical :).

I think most of us on the list are happy to listen to young-earth
creationists if they present well-reasoned arguments. Face it, many
young-earth creationists are their own worst enemies by making ridiculous,
simplistic, unsupported claims that have been totally and effectively
refuted many times in the past.

> Funny, did your God invent philosophy, or did Satan, or did human
> beings? God is truth and is reality - philosophy, at least in terms
> of the courses I have had in it, is a human undertaking to understand
> the universe around them. God, in that sense, didn't invent
> philosophy. God IS reality; He created the universe that exists
> (whether you believe it or not) and, according to the Scriptures, it
> will dissolve when He decides it will (matter cannot be created or
> destroyed be hanged!).
>
> Philosophy is a human invention, an invention by human beings using a
> fallen intellect, somewhat based on observations by fallen eyes
> (although not all philosophy is based on observation - "I think,
> therefore I am" is self-awareness, not based an objective reality).
> Hence, philosophy is not a divine creation, any more than you can
> claim the atom bomb is a divine creation. God understands it, but He
> didn't "create" it in the sense that He created light.

I agree that philosophy is a human invention. That doesn't mean it's
all Satanic however. There are good philosophies and bad philosophies.
Young-earth creationism is also a human invention. It's an INTERPRETATION
of Scripture.

> Science is philosophy, in a matter of speaking. As someone rightly
> pointed out on this listserv, science is _not_ the objective reality
> of observations, science is the _philosophical interpretation_ of those
> observations. In that regard, one person's philosophy is another's
> junk. The question of right and wrong is based on the underlying
> presupposition and the conclusions based on persons' logic, whether
> right or wrong. As I have said, I have found gaps in your
> reasonings, I have found gaps in the reasonings of the YEC
> proponents; I have found sensibilities in some of your statements and
> in some of theirs. In my opinion (which to some is biased, to others
> objective - objectivity is in the eye of the beholder or, to put it
> another way, that which is evil lies in the opinion of the victor),
> both of your "science" is balanced by the other camp. Hence, what I
> believe comes down to that - faith.

I think you're using a word expressing a very complex idea, faith, in a
very simplistic way. The "faith" I have in the saving grace of Jesus Christ
is very, very different in character than the "faith" I have that the
acceleration due to gravity is about 9.8 m/s.

> And I choose to believe in the Bible.

It bothers me a great deal when YECs accuse everyone else of not believing
in the Bible or not being a "real" Chrisitan. I just had an e-mail exchange
with someone about this recently. All reading of Scripture involves some
interpretation. Is this prose or poetry or literal or metaphor or whatever.
NO ONE reads the Bible 100% literally without interpretation. You chose to
believe in a PARTICULAR INTERPRETATION of Scripture. I believe your literal
reading of the Creation story is incorrect and not in keeping with the
nature of the Hebrew language and culture of those times.

> Finally, yes, I have a belief that God "diddit". God created the
> heavens and the earth. As a scientist, I have a desire to understand
> how God "diddit", _if_ He permits me to do so. After all, God tells
> us in Deuteronomy 29:29 "The secret things belong to the LORD our
> God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever,
> that we may observe all the words of this law." (NAS) Why does God
> reveal anything to us (and we will NOT _know_ the truth about
> creation/evolution unless God reveals it to us since NONE OF US WAS
> THERE) except that we should glorify Him?

You're an electrical engineer Bill. Have you ever seen electrons scooting
through copper wires? Yet you believe in them because the theory behind this
is well supported by observational evidence. Similarly, as a geologist, I
accept a great age for the earth, not because I was there are saw it being
formed, but because it's an idea well supported by measurable observational
evidence. I can take you into the field and stick your nose on the evidence
if you'd like (problem is, most YEC have never looked at rocks or fossils
in any detail)! I also disbelieve in a recent global flood because I've
looked at rocks all over this country and there's a total lack of evidence
for it in the geologic strata.

> What I have against the theological evolutionists is their pride and
> arrogance. The truth is that God may NOT desire for us to understand how he
> "diddit" - your attitudes that you can do so, even if God doesn't desire for
> you to know how, is arrogance of the highest sort.

So what would you have scientist's do? Quit their jobs, sit at home and
watch TV because "God may NOT desire for us to understand"? How and when
would we know that? Your argument could have been used hundreds of years
ago against Galileo, or fifty years ago against research in microbiology.
Where does one stop? When Bill Frix gets uncomfortable because it conflicts
with his understanding of Scripture? If truths about the natural world can
be uncovered, they will eventually be brought to light. If God doesn't want
us to discover certain truths right now He, in his omnipotence, will keep them
hidden. I don't see anyone on the list spouting scientism, just a belief
that scientific research is an honorable pursuit for Christian men and women
and will better help us to understand the world God created.

> Funny, the Bible tells us that God reveals His secrets to those who
> fear Him (Ps 25:14) and that He is opposed to the proud. Maybe
> humility in the face of the Scriptures is the best way to learn how
> God "diddit".

Once again, you demonstrate an attitude that I read as "if you disagree
with me and my interpretation of Scripture, then you're not a humble
Christian." I think you're showing a little lack of humility yourself
Bill.

> William M. Frix
> Assistant Professor, Electrical Engineering

I thought you said you were a scientist. I know I'll bring the wrath of
some down on my head for saying this, but I don't necessarily consider
enigineering to be science. In what way are you qualified to judge arguments
about speciation, sedimentation, tectonics, molecular biology, etc. in that
you call yourself a scientist and a YEC?

- Steve.

--
      Steven H. Schimmrich           KB9LCG            s-schim@uiuc.edu
      Department of Geology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
         245 Natural History Building, Urbana, IL 61801  (217) 244-1246
      http://www.uiuc.edu/ph/www/s-schim     Fides quaerens intellectum