It's been a long time since I've posted to this newsgroup, but I've been
following this exchange and feel that I should post.
I have a Ph.D. in astrophysics and was never brought up in a YEC environment
in the UK. In fact until I met some Americans at an evangelical church in
Munich, Germany, I thought everybody grew out of believing in a 6000 year old
earth at about the same age they stopped believing in Santa Clause. I was
really shocked that grown adults could believe this. It was only in the last
few years with the Internet that I came across the term "YEC" or "Young Earth
Creationism", and found that it was very popular in the USA.
After examining and reading up about this, then engaging with YECs on the
Internet and in real life, I decided that as a Christian I feel it my duty to
try and point people to the truth, as best as we understand it, and fight
against YECism as much as possible. I regard YECism as a perversion of
Christianity and science, that does damage to both by misguiding and
Since late 1996 I have been living in Tucson, Arizona. About 10 days ago I
heard of a creation/evolution debate at a Fundamentalist "King James Only"
Baptist church in Marana, which is a short distance NW of Tucson. After
sitting through about three hours of a tirade of total nonsense about
evolution, or rather the lack of it, flood geology and a 6000 year old
universe, I decided to challenge the speaker afterwards on astronomy. He was
Mike Riddle of the ICR. One of the most obvious questions I asked was how we
can see exploding stars in galaxies more that 6000 light years away (of
course all external galaxies are more than 6000 light years away). As
expected he used the false argument of Russel Humphrey's relativity to
explain this. I pointed out this was completely wrong, and there was no
evidence for it at all, but no matter, either he was lying or he didn't know
better. Either way he was wrong, and in the presence of other people who
don't know any science, he may sound convincing, so his false ammunition
works in the eyes of the onlookers appears to work.
What I find about these types of people is that they will gladly use or
misuse the laws of physics when it suits them, but when they can't they ditch
it and use faith as a fallback. He also insisted that stars are not forming
today, but I pointed out that they do. When pressed to explain how stars
were formed, he said miraculously by God. It seems that any textbook the ICR
would write on astrophysics would be very simple, all the maths and physics
would just be replaced by the words "God did it". I pointed out that I
believe that God did it, and still does it through the laws of science that
we want to understand. You can always invoke miracles to explain everything
and anything you like, thus you explain nothing.
At the beginning of the talk it was stated, I can't remember if the speaker
said it, that about 70% of children who leave the school associated with that
church leave Christianity when they go to college. If they study subjects
like astronomy, geology or biology at the University of Arizona, it's hardly
surprising they reject Christianity when they start to think critically with
their YEC background. I actually pointed out to the speaker that YECism
blunts Christian witnessing in the USA.
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