Re: [asa] Advice for conversing with YECs

From: Gregory Arago <>
Date: Sat Oct 25 2008 - 07:05:31 EDT

Let me echo Murray's words that one size does not fit all. I enjoyed the story of Australian Aboriginals and the notion that "white man got no Dreaming."  This seems in a way to echo the idea of 'rationalising the rainbow' that 'modern science' is discredited with. I imagine that Dennis may not realise the force of 'labelling' he carries just by being a natural scientist, especially a biologist, in his church - and rumour travels quickly!
That said, I am sensitive to this question of how to converse with people who disagree with us fundamentally. I read 'creationist' literature that professed a 'young earth' at an impressionable age too! As it was, time and perspective was the best healer and surveying the field more generally to see how much of a majority or a minority the claims of 'young earth' tend to be. It is one answer to note that 'biblical literalism,' one of the main sources of YEC views, is a situated phenomenon itself and not an 'orthodox' perspective for Christians worldwide. This happens mainly in North America where people depend so heavily on the written word; in the YEC sense, elevating Scripture into something it is not: a scientific text.
One question to ask up front is what 'science' means to said person. If he or she doesn't value scientific knowledge, then this is an indication that 'scientific arguments' will not convince them. Thus, one's 'map of knowledge' becomes important and 'science' can actually figure quite lowly in some people's ordering. Thus, Dennis, I suggest you take with you a grain of salt that people in a given society needn't necessarily elevate 'science' into the titanic that our (N. American) 'mass scientific society' has assumed. Inquiring to discover what knowledge means to said person could go a long way and may even disabuse the notion that 'scientists are smarter' than other citizens.
For some people, science can be seen as helpful when a loved one is sick and needs a cure, but in other ways constantly damaging to the soul, in the sense of 'disenchantment' from the world of Dreaming that a supposedly 'primitive' or less sophisticated people enjoys. If you speak openly with respect and humility for the mysterious involved in human life and avoid the over-rationalising that often accompanies scientific methods, you'll probably have more success. If not in convincing a YEC at your local church, then at least in developing a respectful relationship with him or her that will display that 'scientists' are not all rational idiots who would de-mystify the universe from the smallest atom to the largest reaches of the cosmos.
Warm regards,
Gregory __________________________________________________________________ Instant Messaging, free SMS, sharing photos and more... Try the new Yahoo! Canada Messenger at

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Received on Sat Oct 25 07:06:12 2008

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