YEC lecture notes, part 1

From: John W Burgeson (
Date: Mon Sep 22 2003 - 17:16:12 EDT

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    I have posted my notes on the Sebeny lecture, in which the assertion is
    made that both the earth and universe are no older than 6007 or so years,
    on page 2, section 4 of my web site at

    Here is the first part of those notes; I am copying the presenter so that
    he may correct my notes should they be inaccurate. However, I am a fairly
    good note taker, particularly in provocative places.
    Title: The Origin of the Universe and Earth
    (6007 years plus or minus a couple or so)

    Notes on a 1.5 hour lecture with this title presented 9-20-2003 at the
    Durango Christian Church, Durango, Colorado, by Mr. Joe Sebeny. Joe is
    associated with a creation “science” organization in Arizona. Their web
    site is:

    The notes that follow reproduce, I hope accurately, the essence of Mr.
    Sebeny’s lecture.
    My comments are in () parentheses. If no parentheses, I mean to convey
    what Joe said.

    (The good news is this. Although advertised locally for the preceding
    month, with “a free book” being offered in a newspaper ad to the first
    25 Fort Lewis students in attendance (Fort Lewis College, with > 4,000
    students is about a mile from the church), by my count there were a total
    of 17 in the audience, none (except the presenter and a friend) under 40.
    At age 72, I suspect that I was in the younger 50%. OTOH, this session
    was one of 5 (plus Sunday morning) being presented over the weekend; it
    is possible that the audience size was better in the other sessions).

    The senior pastor introduced Joe with the wry observation that there were
    “missing links” in the audience (he meant not in the audience). Clearly
    he was disappointed with the turnout.

    The primary pastor, Mike Williams Ph.D., did not appear to be present.

    In the too-often posture of “Christian fellowship,” I was not greeted or
    acknowledged as I came in (before the lecture began) and took a seat in
    the pews. At the conclusion of Joe’s talk I asked him a question to which
    he gave a one word answer.

    In advance of the lecture, I had emailed Joe a number of questions, all
    relating to the age of the earth, which I asked him to address. To the
    best of my knowledge, he did not do so. The session was to start at 9:00
    with another session starting at 10:30 on another dreary YEC subject. I
    assumed he'd take questions. I was wrong. He spoke until 10:35 and then
    took a 15 minute break. He did provide cards where questions could be
    written out, but it was clear he did not want to handle them on an
    immediate basis. I passed one in, but with better things to occupy my
    Saturday than to listen (again) to the screwy philosophies of Ellen
    White, I left.)

    Joe Sebeny introduced himself as a “Rocket Scientist.” He is a young guy
    (to this 72-year old), personable, a pretty good (and persuasive)
    speaker. He claimed two BS degrees, one in physics and one in
    Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering from MIT as well as “Ph.D.
    studies.” I did not hear any dates given for these. His employment is
    that of an engineer with Raytheon Missile Systems. He claimed 23 years of
    experience in the Defense Industry and 10 years of conducting seminars on
    “the Bible and true science.”

    (I have no reasons to doubt those claims.)

    “The Bible and true science are in harmony.”

    (I don't personally know any Christian, conservative or liberal, who
    would challenge that statement. But what Joe meant was “The Bible as I
    interpret it (literally) and true science are in harmony.”)

    There are two philosophies, creation and evolution

    (Joe made the usual YEC mistake of committing the fallacy of the excluded

    The creation model involved processes not now taking place.
    Genesis 1 is history and is chronological.

    (Joe calls the big bang an “explosion.” Most physicists (I think) don't
    do that. But it IS a popular way of thinking of it. An “explosion,” of
    course, presupposes a space into which something explodes, and space was
    (by the latest thinking) created as part of the process. But this is a

    Joe referred frequently to “the unobserved past.”

    Joe argued that there are three (exactly) fundamental principles of
    science, and that all three were consistent with creation and did not
    support evolution.

    1. Causality
    2. The 1st law of thermodynamics
    3. The 2nd law of thermodynamics

    (note – Joe may have tightly defined the word “evolution” in the previous
    night’s lecture. He sure did not in this one. In context, I think he
    meant by the word when he did use it was the general meaning “we are
    here by accident through a long (billions of years) process from
    chemicals to humanity and there was nothing divine involved, either at
    the beginning or during the process.” If I substitute the phrase
    “philosophical naturalism” for “evolution” in his presentation it makes
    sense. It seems that MIT did not teach well the concepts of
    methodological naturalism. )

    Joe made three points, all of which show that the 3 principles of science
    support creation:

    1. Where did all the information come from? Had to be there in the
    beginning. No natural process creates information.

    2. The 1st and 2nd laws are PROVEN and cannot be broken, therefore the
    universe could not have created itself. (Joe is clearly not a fan of Karl

    3. The 2nd law PROVES that the universe must have had a beginning.

    (Joe set up and demolished a few strawmen here, as well as other places,
    but I'll pass over those.)

    The theistic evolutionist (any non-YECer) does not worship the God of the

    (suspecting Joe would say this, I had asked him to at least add a caveat
    that he did not, thereby, challenge the Christianity of a TE. He did not
    do so; it was a flat statement. Some time much later he did, in an
    unrelated part of the lecture, mutter (literally) such a caveat. And, via
    email, Joe has asserted that while he thinks TEs are “inconsistent” and
    “doing the cause of Christ a great disservice,” he does not challenge
    their Christianity.)

    end part 1. The complete set of notes is on my web site.

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