Re: [asa] Advice for conversing with YECs

From: Murray Hogg <>
Date: Sat Oct 25 2008 - 23:44:44 EDT

I'm with you on this, Gordon.

I think for many YEC's the issue is NOT scientific but theological (or philosophical) as they essentially believe that one has to choose between the Bible (or, more broadly, Christian faith) OR Evolution.

And if this is the case, I think it clear that starting out by trying to prove Evolution will be percieved to be attempting to disprove Christianity.

If one is discussing creation/evolution with a person who strongly holds this "either/or" position, then I'd suggest that one needs to start by showing that one CAN be an evolutionist and a Christian BEFORE moving to the scientific data.

But would I turn to the church fathers to show the theologically problematic nature of YECism? Perhaps. But I'd want to be sensitive to the possibility that a person is probably in the YEC camp because of a very naive grasp of Christian theology. And it might be that introducing the Fathers to critique a literalistic reading of Genesis might do nothing more than confuse them. Indeed, it might even serve to "debunk" the Bible in their eyes rather than to broaden their understanding thereof.

But no need to labour the point - as I'm sure we're pretty convinced of the need to take each case on its merits by now! About the only thing I AM certain of in this entire subject is that if there WAS a single hard and fast approach to ALL YEC's then the issue would already have been resolved!


gordon brown wrote:
> I think that one's approach to a YEC should depend on why that
> individual is a YEC. If it is ONLY because he is misinformed about
> science, then that is the subject to be addressed. However the more
> typical case would be the person who thinks that the Bible demands YEC.
> In that case that misconception is what I would address first. If you
> address science first, you may convince him of nothing, or you may shake
> his faith in the inspiration of Scripture. It has been noted at least as
> far back as the early church fathers and probably earlier that creation
> in six 24-hour
> days leads to problems within the Biblical texts. Add to that the flood
> geology of present-day YECs, and you have even more problems with the
> Biblical account.
> Gordon Brown (ASA member)
> On Sat, 25 Oct 2008, Gregory Arago wrote:
>> 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
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Received on Sat Oct 25 23:45:12 2008

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