Re: serious

From: jack syme <>
Date: Wed Jan 07 2004 - 07:06:33 EST

Walt wrote:

"In this situation, the reasonable approach is to acknowledge that the other side may be right. Once this is done, I suggest that (with everyone accepting the other's viewpoint), more YECs will become non-YECs than the reverse. "

I have no problem with this sentiment. The problem is that those who support the YEC view dont do the same. They dont want to hear about any extrabiblical evidence about how the world is, and insist that their interpretation is the only acceptable one. As this view becomes soundly entrenched in home school, and christian education, instead of presenting a more balanced approach, more and more Christian young folk will have more YEC presuppositions to overcome.
  ----- Original Message -----
  From: wallyshoes
  To: Don Winterstein
  Cc: Jim Armstrong ;
  Sent: Tuesday, January 06, 2004 10:52 AM
  Subject: Re: serious

  Don Winterstein wrote:

    <?xml:namespace prefix="v" /><?xml:namespace prefix="o" />Walt wrote: >1.) Quantum Mechanics: There is not a serious scientist on this planet
>who claims to understand quantum mechanics. There are two conflicting
>sets of rules for observations and for non-observations. And there is no
>set of rules to define which is which. The whole thing is so unresolved
>that QM has "interpretations". If you think that YEC is bizarre, then
>consider those of QM
>a.) Instantaneous Collapse over the entire universe (Copenhagen)
>b.) Many Worlds Interpretation (infinite # of universes for each
>c.) Many Minds Interpretation (same as b but only in the minds of men)
>d.) Transactional Interpretation ("handshakes" with the future)
>e.) Shut up and calculate (The practical man's guide)
>f.) Several others

>Now those are not theories, they are "interpretations" (as in biblical
>interpretations) - something that QM requires! ... The physics itself doesn't require the interpretations. It's the physicists who seek deeper meaning in the theories who require them. The physics itself is the set of (usually) mathematical models. No one understands such a simple thing as wave-particle duality; but it's good physics. (Actually, "wave-particle duality" is simply a descriptive phrase referring to what seem at the macroscopic level to be incompatible empirical results.) No one understands Dirac's "infinite sea of negative-energy electrons," either, but it's a useful model (or at least was so when I studied QM). Furthermore, no one understands why a particle going at essentially the speed of light keeps gaining mass but almost no speed as you continue to accelerate it. In General Relativity no one understands why masses should bend space-time. So "understanding" and "interpreting" aren't really integral to the science itself, although those are the things that I suppose most theoretical physicists are most interested in. While I empathize with your exhortations to treat YECs kindly, when we're talking the age of the Earth we're not talking interpretations of theories or even theories; we're talking hard data. Data of course are meaningless outside a context, so the data do have to be seen within a theoretical framework. To all appearances I just contradicted myself. So I'll tentatively acknowledge that there are indeed two relevant theories (OE and YE). However, almost all the data fit comfortably in one (OE), and very few of the data fit in the other (YE) without ad hoc assumptions that have neither scientific nor biblical basis. In other words, only one of the two theories is respectable. The other is not worthy of consideration as a scientific theory. It ought to be cast into outer darkness--although in a way that's as inoffensive to YECs as possible. Hence there aren't really two theories after all, and the hard data fit the OE model. (Actually, science is supposed to involve fitting theories to data, not vice versa; yet, once we have a decent theory, we can usefully talk about whether or not the data are consistent with our theory.) Don

  Two Things, Don:

  1.) In order to get "data" one has to make a measurement. That is characterized by a (properly normalized) projection operator. In fact, we cannot define that operator until we know the result of the specific measurement being considered. However, according to quantum theory, the wave function propagates by means of Hermitian operators. Nobody can define what makes a measurement different from a non-measurement. That is fundamental and quite different than "understanding" general relativity, etc. Even Feynman said that nobody understands QM and most professors that I have known sincerely believe that "something is wrong". You speak of "data" in science, yet physics cannot even figure out how measurements are made and data is obtained. My point is that this and the arrow of time point out just how uncertain science is about the true nature of the world.

  2.) In addition to being kind to YECs, I would suggest that you cannot establish that they are wrong ---- even with this sloppy state of physics. The contention that I have seen (by YECs) most often is that the laws of physics today may not be validly extrapolated into the past. The notion that God just created the universe 6000 years ago with the "history built-in" is rejected on philosophical grounds --- not scientific ones. The taunt of "that makes God a liar" is the same that YECs use to those who do not accept scripture (as they see it).

  In this situation, the reasonable approach is to acknowledge that the other side may be right. Once this is done, I suggest that (with everyone accepting the other's viewpoint), more YECs will become non-YECs than the reverse.

  Meanwhile, this stubborn veneration of (flawed) science by ASAers is totally unjustified, as well as counter productive, IMHO.


  Walt Hicks <>

  In any consistent theory, there must
  exist true but not provable statements.
  (Godel's Theorem)

  You can only find the truth with logic
  If you have already found the truth
  without it. (G.K. Chesterton)
Received on Wed Jan 7 07:07:57 2004

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