Re: [asa] FW: What if YECism were self-evident?

From: Merv <>
Date: Fri Sep 22 2006 - 08:34:51 EDT

This is an interesting thought experiment, Jon. And I agree with you
that even if YECism was an accepted reality, it wouldn't necessarily
remove the warfare, but perhaps only soften it. I still think the
simplest approach (which I think is reflected in Lewis' writings) is to
accept a "both and" approach rather than an "either or" approach
regarding naturalistic explanations and Divine activity explanations.
And we (pretty much ALL Christians) have already become comfortable with
doing this. Nobody feels threatened by a clinical description of cell
division & growth in utero as if this somehow nullified the psalmic
praise "you knit me together in my mother's womb". Both approaches are
recognized as valid, the former being merely a subset of the latter more
encompassing view of creation. But the brakes go on, the walls go up
as soon as anybody tries to do this in the area of cosmic & life origins
in the historical sense.

I like the way Lewis phrased an answer to Eustace in "Voyage of the Dawn
Treader" when Eustace asserts that stars in our world are really giant
flaming balls of gas. The wise Ramadu replies, "Even in your world, my
son, that is not what a star is but only what it is made of."


Jon Tandy wrote:
> I have a hypothetical question that I'd like to pose, which concerns
> science and its view of nature, regardless of the evidence for a young
> or old universe.
> It is widely acknowledged that the physical evidence points to an old
> earth, while a simple reading of the scriptural text points to an
> immediate creation by direct intervention by God (I realize there are
> many other reasonable views on these topics, and I'm not debating
> those here). Many scientific theories have proved to be reasonably
> accurate in describing and predicting natural processes at work in the
> cosmos. The success of naturalistic explanations (as well as the
> expressed philosophy of many atheistic scientists that "nature is all
> there is") has strengthed the position of many theists that science is
> at war with religion, and that science is predisposed to accept only a
> philosophy of naturalism.
> But what if the situation were different? What if the last 150 years
> of geology and cosmology had not revealed such convincing evidence of
> an old universe? What if the evidence for young-ness were so
> self-evident that most scientists accepted this fact as a basis for
> their methodology? What changes would this make in our practice of
> science today? Would this eliminate the warfare between science and
> religion, between naturalistic and supernaturalistic philosophies, or
> between atheism and theism? Would philosophical naturalism be dead in
> such a world?
> Certainly in many areas of science, there would be no impact at all.
> If the earth existed in its present form, but with evidence of young
> age accepted by the scientific community, work in many areas of
> physics, biology, chemistry, and other fields of science would be
> exactly as it is now. Studying the habitat of animals, or the
> trajectory of planets, or the combination of chemicals would not
> necessarily be much affected by the age of the earth question.
> Sub-disciplines such as paleo-biology would certainly be affected in
> how they view the fossil record.
> I would venture a guess that YEC theists would be viewed with a bit
> more favor by the scientific community than they are today. Yet I
> believe that science would still continue to investigate, hypothesize,
> and seek for natural explanations where possible to explain both
> present processes as well as origins. Even though theism would
> probably be more "alive and well" within scientific circles than it is
> today, I don't believe this situation would eliminate the warfare
> between philosophical naturalism and theistic creationism.
> I'm thinking of several examples where science currently accepts, or
> has eagerly proposed, natural explanations for origins questions which
> for others have been simply answered with, "God did it." In a world
> where the evidence clearly pointed to a young earth, methodological
> naturalism could still lead scientists propose such things as:
> -- a version of "Big Bang" theory, where the universe comes
> spontaneously into existence out of nothing, 10,000 years ago, as a
> singularity which we can't mathematically explain (sound familiar to
> today's Big Bang theory?)
> -- a cyclical universe, where the universe could pop into existence,
> disappear, and reappear endless times
> -- a wormhole theory, where matter from one universe that disappears
> into a wormhole comes out another in fully assembled form
> -- a collision of "branes", or parallel universes, which gives rise to
> immediate, spontaneous existence of matter
> -- naturalistic flood theories which postulate a means by which
> atmospheric vapor and/or underground reservoirs could have been
> catastrophically released on the earth several thousand years ago
> -- theories of biological evolution by which rapid mutations could
> occur over several thousands of years, leading to the present
> diversity of species through natural means
> -- In short, any number of other theories which could explain a young
> universe, without relying on a theistic philosophy of "God created",
> could be proposed by those with a scientific philosophy intent on
> trying to explain all things through natural means.
> Certainly in this hypothetical universe, it would be possible that
> some of these theories could be falsified, and the dynamics of the
> debate would be different from now. But I believe there is something
> in the current mindset of science which is inherently at war with
> religion, and trying to expand its own domain through naturalistic
> explanations. Not that science as a field of study is wrong in itself
> or that all such explanations are false or bad, but proponents of
> science over the last 300 years have tended strongly toward expanding
> the domain of the "natural".
> C.S. Lewis in "The Abolition of Man" draws a parallel between the role
> of magic and science which developed during the 16th and 17th
> centuries, calling them "twins" born out of the same desire to subdue
> reality to the wishes of man. Science won over magic, because it
> worked whereas magic didn't, but the underlying desire was the same --
> control over nature. As science was able to "weigh and measure"
> everything, it gradually removed things from the supernatural to the
> natural realm (i.e. stars were no longer seen as heavenly bodies, but
> as massive nuclear reactors). The mystical view of previous ages
> which saw something of a divine nature revealed through trees and
> stars and the creation itself was replaced by an analytical view of
> reality which, Lewis argues, lost something of its true reality. He
> argues against this view's logical conclusion, which is that
> naturalists are trying to reduce man himself, along with reason and
> morality, to mere nature and chance. He also argues that science
> isn't necessarily the culprit, that it's possible for science to
> redeem itself if it can recover something of the wonder of this
> greater "reality".
> It was Lewis' thoughts that led me to pose the question in this post.
> If philosophical naturalism would still be possible (and perhaps
> thrive) in a world where the age of the universe wasn't in dispute,
> does this provide any insights for the present situation on how to
> better view the role of science, or how to discourse with young-earth
> creationists or old-earth atheists? Does this provide a
> valuable illustration that the age of the earth is not the important
> issue, but rather the clash between philosophies?
> Jon Tandy

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Received on Fri Sep 22 08:33:34 2006

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