Re: My daughter is a YEC -- omphalos argument, Walt's Concerns, &c.

From: Dr. Blake Nelson (
Date: Fri Sep 12 2003 - 23:15:17 EDT

  • Next message: Keith Miller: "Re: My daughter is a YEC"

    The argument that Walt is making re the simulation is
    known as the omphalos argument, and there is no way to
    prove that God did not create the universe with
    apparent age (leaving aside whether this makes God
    deceptive, etc.). However, that is not the claim that
    YECers generally make. It is at least theoretically
    important to distinguish between the position that 1)
    creation is recent with apparent age and 2) the
    attempt to attack science on its own turf in asserting
    a YEC conception of Genesis.

    One can take the position of omphalos, but, I think
    concomitantly, one should not have any quarrel with
    anything modern science says about how it appears the
    universe and creatures came into being. You don't
    need to explain geological features, etc., because
    they were created to look as if it took millions of
    years to build up.

    The problem with the omphalos view of course comes in
    several varieties, not least of which 1) the Genesis
    text does not really support an omphalos view in the
    literal reading most YECers want, and 2) the omphalos
    argument could be used to state that the world was
    created 5 minutes ago.

    It's obvious that when YEC tries to shoe-horn into
    science and come up with scientific, rather than the
    omphalos, explanation of apparent age, it makes
    assertions that scientists have a right and a basis to

    Of course, Walter's point is exactly true that one
    does not have to be a scientist to be a christian and
    scientists have nothing privileged to say about being
    christian, living out faith, etc.

    It seems to me that the problem lies where someone
    says that a particular view is the necessary one as a
    litmus test for being a christian or if there version
    of reality is not true christianity is wrong. I knew
    little about Duane Gish until I saw him in a video at from one of the Vatican
    conferences. When he asserted that an atheist was
    correct that if evolution were true, Jesus essentially
    meant nothing, I was flabbergasted.

    At the end of the day, however, it is perhaps true
    that christians show by their fruit the power and
    efficaciousness of grace and the transformative power
    of God.

    I think Walt might, in part, also be reacting to the
    sense that some might get of science uber alles from
    some statements made to the list. That of course is a
    logical positivist fallacy that philosophers -- not to
    mention scientists -- have dealt with as simply
    wrongheaded years ago. However, Vienna Circle-esque
    statements about what science has to say about
    religion still pop up every now and again.

    Sometimes, it does feel as if christianity means to
    some people something other than the central fact that
    what is distinctively Christian is Christ Himself, who
    was crucified and yet is alive; the real, historical
    Jesus of Nazareth (note when I saw historical I am not
    referring to the Jesus Seminar or its ilk, but the
    real, historical person) who was crucified. Again,
    the problem then, as I think George has aptly noted
    (although he might not agree with any of my
    statements) is theological and not having a
    Christ-centered theological starting point.

    It seems to me that science does not have a lot to say
    about Him, but what we know about science and how it
    may fit with our understanding of God is always
    informed by Him. Sometimes, it feels like it is the
    other way around from some list comments. Which is
    why I have a hard time understanding how any
    scientific law or theory can be a "Christianity
    killer" (such an assertion seems to me to just be a
    pastiche of logical positivism -- and the list of such
    supposed Christianity killers is long, encompassing, I
    think possibly every posed scientific theory from the
    discredited, to the well-established, to the utterly
    speculative), because, inter alia, most of what
    concerns religion is first person stories --
    transformation, salvation, repentance -- and if beyond
    science even in the examination of how those first
    person stories are manifest in an intersubjectively
    observable and measurable way.

    Walt is probably correct that it is not just some
    stripes of YEC that have theological problems.
    --- Keith Miller <> wrote:
    > > Now some take the Bible as literal and think that
    > we came into existence a few
    > > thousand years ago and that what we see of history
    > in the universe did not
    > > actually transpire. That is: God presented us with
    > a universe with the history
    > > 'built in". Most here like to ridicule such a
    > notion. I wonder how many of
    > > these
    > > have ever conducted simulation of some technical
    > aspect within their filed. If
    > > so, I am certain that they work within simulated
    > environments with a history
    > > built into it. I run simulations ot check the
    > dynamics of certain systems. It
    > > could never even be done if I had to work from the
    > ground floor in machine
    > > language to do everything. It would be nonsense
    > for me to use anything other
    > > than a structure from a previous simulation --
    > even if "just" the compiler..
    > >
    > > Should I believe that God is less wise than his
    > creations? That he has to
    > > start
    > > form scratch with His simulated background for us?
    > No, we should believe that God is much MORE wise and
    > powerful than us. Your
    > analogy above reduces God to a human engineer. God,
    > unlike a human
    > engineer, is not constrained just to manipulate an
    > existing creation. God
    > is Creator and thus had free choice over the
    > properties and capacities of
    > the stuff of creation. God made the original stuff.
    > It is also clear from scripture, from the history of
    > God's people, and from
    > our own experience, that God is a God of process.
    > The process matters to
    > God. God does not appear to be interested in just
    > cutting to the chase and
    > getting to the final objective. The process of
    > getting there is the
    > objective. That in my mind is what sanctification
    > is. It is also clear
    > that suffering and pain is part of that process - a
    > process which God
    > himself experienced in the incarnation and cross.
    > A long creative history is just what I would expect
    > from the God of history.
    > Furthermore, a long creative history emphasizes
    > God's care for the creation.
    > All the myriad of organisms that have come and gone
    > on this planet were
    > there for God's pleasure alone. They gave praise to
    > God long before
    > humanity was there to see and worship.
    > Keith

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