Is Intelligent Design really just Old Earth Creationism?

I got this astute blog comment from Frank Morris:

“I was so impressed by your debate with Stephen Meyer that I finally bought your Evolution 2.0 book. I can’t wait to read it to see how it compares with my own journey getting kicked around by hostile Darwinians on blogs as I continued to question their seemingly crazy theory.

“Stephen Meyer, on the other hand, was profoundly disappointing. I rejected ID over 10 years ago, but I always thought that, in principle, the concept of ID accepted any form of intelligent cause, not just the God answer. The reality of cellular intelligence has forced the Discovery Institute to expose their bluff. Dr. Meyer seems to be trying to change it from ID to OD, a step up to Omniscient Design.

“He’s wrong. Omniscient means all-knowing. Cells, who are clearly rearranging their own genomes, are very intelligent, but not omniscient.

“Cells are not gods, as another responder suggested. They are intelligent little critters trying their best to survive, but they don’t simply know all things by omniscience. They use internal homeostatic systems, environmental monitoring systems and intercellular communication to establish their needs and responses to need. So they need to SEEK information about their external and internal status, which means they don’t just magically know all things. On top of that is the lack of the perfection one would expect of omniscience. Thanks for the article.”

I replied back to Frank:

Bingo, Frank, you hit it right on the head. YES YES YES YES.

You would think that “intelligent design” simply should have meant that the same principles employed in engineering, music, architecture etc. are also at work in living systems, so therefore life cannot be understood in purely reductionist terms. One would have thought that the ID crowd simply wanted the world to embrace an holistic understanding of nature. And that they would be happy for us to have done that.

The Discovery Institute people are NOT happy with my view of biology, where the intelligence resides in the cells. They consider that heresy.

What this debate shows is that Intelligent Design a la Discovery Institute is actually Old Earth Creationism. Also, my debates with Stephen Meyer have also made it clear to me that a large number of Discovery Institute supporters are actually Young Earth Creationists.

You are right on the money sir. This is why ID as it currently defines itself will never become accepted by the majority of scientists. A scientist must discover natural processes using the scientific method. That is his job. Otherwise, no paycheck.

One time I said to one of the Discovery Institute employees: “James Shapiro at the University of Chicago has a decent fighting chance of getting his view of evolution accepted by the academy, because his approach is entirely compatible with the scientific method. But your version will never be accepted by mainstream science. Ever.”

In November the Royal Society Meeting showed that Shapiro, Noble, Jablonka and the other Third Way scientists are making admirable headway in getting their program accepted by the mainstream.

But at the end of the day the Discovery Institute, instead of healing the war between science and religion, is actually perpetuating it.

Yes, Frank, your understanding of cells is very much the same as mine.

Thanks for buying Evolution 2.0, I believe you will enjoy it. Welcome to the blog and don’t be a stranger.

152 Responses

  1. Tom Godfrey says:

    I was up too late last night and overlooked a copy/past error that might confuse anyone who reads my previous comment for Mike. In the fourth paragraph, I wrote “… a time for deposit of its bottom and a later time for deposit of its bottom” instead of “… a time for deposit of its bottom and a later time for deposit of its top.” Sorry about that.

  2. Mike Bay says:

    Absurd. How many angels dance in head of pin? Send me your calculations. Be precise. NEVER HAPPENED. Why do you discuss these things? Forget all your layer calculations. You only have 7200 years to work with. Actually you only have 6 24 hour days yo work with. You need to figure out how the Grand Canyon and all it’s layers and fossils… all of it… figure out how it fits into the 6 days. More like 72 hours.. This is your paradigm.. And Dr A’s paradigm. Nothing else matters in this thread… Gallaxies spinning. Supernovae. Distance to Andromeda measured in light years. All of it! You have 6 24hour days to cram it all in. Get started. Make sense of it. And please DO NOT reference back to previous threads with time date stamps. I do not care and do not read them. Focus. You have 6 24hour days with which yo work. That’s it! They for you are literal. That would be 6x24x60 minutes. This is the only math you need to worry about. Forget the million and billion year jazz. 6 days. Explain to me the science of geology with your 6 days. Explain the fossil record with your 6 days. Explain petrified tree rings with your 6 days. The sun goes up and down 3,4,5 or whatever times in your creation week. In that time explain the uplifted mountain ranges complete with sediment layers filled with fossils of sea creatures. Tom, you have s big challenge. Get to work. Report back to us your findings.

  3. Tom Godfrey says:

    Mike,

    I overlooked a copy/paste error that might confuse anyone who reads my previous comment for you. In the fourth paragraph, I wrote, “… a time for deposit of its bottom and a later time for deposit of its bottom.” I meant to write, “… a time for deposit of its bottom and a later time for deposit of its top.” Sorry about that.

    In your Christmas Eve comment for me, you wanted to know what gave me the idea that the universe has expanded or is expanding. We already agree that the universe is expanding, and this is not a controversial idea at all. It is consistent with what the Bible tells us about God stretching out the heavens (Is. 40:22; 42:5; 44:24; 45:12; 51:13,16; Zech. 12:1), and secular scientists agree too.
    http://skyserver.sdss.org/dr1/en/astro/universe/universe.asp
    This article suggests to me that considerable humility is in order, since much remains to be learned. If God miraculously expanded the universe so that stars could serve as designed by the end of the first week (my theory), we may not be able to detect now the details of that miraculous expansion in the beginning. We can at least investigate natural expansion as currently observed from the vantage point of earth or our probes in nearby space, understanding that there might not be anything miraculous about it now. There are evidently regions experiencing local collapse, even though the universe as a whole is expanding. For example, the Andromeda galaxy is supposed to be on a collision course with our galaxy. I suppose God could have arranged for this situation miraculously as well, perhaps at the time of the curses pronounced when Adam sinned. Genesis does not even mention galaxies as such, so one can only speculate or imagine stories based on observations and whatever presuppositions may seem reasonable.

    By the way, that article has a section on the origin of heavy elements, and the latest issue of Acts & Facts (January 2018) has one on this topic too, but it is not yet available online. It may take a month. The title is “Stellar Nucleosynthesis: Where Did Heavy Elements Come From?” by Vernon R. Cupps, Ph.D.

    You guessed about my beliefs again, posing as someone qualified to state them on my behalf, but ended up with a distortion of what I really believe. You said, “Tom thinks the Poof the universe existed out of nothing in it’s current form.” That sounds like Last Thursdayism, but I have never subscribed to it. I agree with Gen. 1:31 that God made the heavens and the earth, including all that filled them, and pronounced them to be very good, but since the fall of Adam (Gen. 3:17), the creation has been in bondage to decay (Rom. 8:21), so I think its current form is only a decayed relic of a more glorious past.

    I hope you have decided (or soon will decide) that distorting my beliefs only slows us down, because whenever you do this, I always need to clarify to avoid confusing other readers. You are the expert on your beliefs. I am the expert on mine.

    We do have some knowledge of the configuration of constellations long ago, but we should agree that the really old sky charts are all too crude to determine how fixed the position of familiar stars has remained for “thousands of years.” Here is one example that is less than 1,000 years old.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Su_Song#/media/File:Su_Song_Star_Map_1.JPG
    Here is another Chinese chart dated somewhat earlier. I think you get the idea.
    http://www.ianridpath.com/startales/startales2a.htm#dunhuang
    More to the point, not even a crude representation of star positions dated to Day 4 of creation week (or about 5176 B.C.) is available for study now, as far as I know. If you can document your claim that “…the universe is about the same now as in was on day 8 after the creation,” I am definitely interested. In the meantime, I assume that the exact configuration of stars as they appeared to Adam when he first looked up at them on a clear night, let alone at the end of Day 4, remains a mystery.

    I suggested that God may have miraculously stretched out the heavens, and I suppose it would have been a rapid expansion, but I have no calculations to present. Too many unknowns. However, “an infinite rate” seems like overkill to me. I wouldn’t go that far. Was the rate “incredibly” rapid? I suppose the answer depends on what you believe God is capable of doing. For those of us who believe Gen. 1:1, a limit on the rapidity would be incredible.

    You wrote, “Yes, I think the universe is expanding but meanwhile [galaxies] are turning and colliding. You want to have it all. For you this is the great deception.” I suppose I do want “to have it all,” but remember that the “turning and colliding” in the case of a given galaxy or galaxy group have been observed for only a small fraction of human history. Have you seen this article? Do you dare read and comment?
    https://answersingenesis.org/astronomy/cosmology/galaxies-unexplained-spirals/

    You mentioned “the great deception” without explaining what you meant. Who is deceiving whom? What is the truth supposed to be? Is it what God said somewhere, or what modern experts have tentatively proposed as they interpreted currently available evidence under their no-miracle presupposition? You may imagine that there is no difference. I maintain that there is either a huge difference, or else God has been changing his mind through the centuries of scientific progress, but I rule out the latter alternative (Num. 23:19).

    Your thought experiment about a biochemist making wine in a lab by bringing ingredients together certainly calls for no virtual history. The whole story would be about what actually happened. The report of the water-to-wine miracle performed by Jesus Christ (John 2:1-11) stands in sharp contrast. There we have no report of bringing any ingredients together, and the miracle worker evidently made no direct contact with the end product. An expert called in to write a history of the “best” wine saved too long, assuming he dismissed any eyewitness testimony as unreliable, could have written a highly credible history about normal means of grape planting, growing, harvesting, processing, and aging to yield the final product.

    If he were modern and really ambitious, he might also speculate about evolution of the grape vine (descent from the first living cell) and go even farther back, all the way to an unobserved, theoretical Big Bang event about 13.8 billion years ago. It could be an extremely long and very detailed history, all right, but how much of this kind of story would really belong in a *true* history, if the wine of interest had been ordinary water just a few minutes earlier? This is an excellent example of what Aardsma calls virtual history. He referred to this very miracle when he first publicly presented the concept. We might waste less time if you simply let this concept sink in. If you prefer a different name for it, go for it, but I don’t see any way to dismiss it as nonsense. If you disagree, please explain.

  4. Tom Godfrey says:

    Mike,

    Is it too much to ask *what* you think is “absurd”? Are you dodging all of my questions simply by trying to send me on a fool’s errand? What would you think if I treated you the same way? “How many angels dance in head of pin? Send me your calculations. Be precise.” Think of the Golden Rule. Let’s be serious.

    You may be wondering why I should consider your demand a fool’s errand. Well, think about it. Whatever Genesis says God did while creating the heavens and the earth is a miracle in my view. How in the world do you suppose I should be able to figure out how any miracle was performed?

    This is “the only math [I] need to worry about”? Nonsense! In the case of creation as reported in Genesis 1 and 2, we have only a brief summary of what God did miraculously, but you are asking me for mathematical details regarding the Grand Canyon, galaxies spinning, and supernovae, none of which are mentioned anywhere in the Bible. Believers cannot necessarily tell you in detail what appeared miraculously and was later cursed along with the ground, or what happened in real history at some point after the curse, though possibly given an exaggerated date by some modern experts because of mistakes, ignored evidence, or invalid presuppositions. Do even your own trusted experts have such encyclopedic knowledge?

    You said, “… all of it… figure out how it fits into the 6 days.” That’s nonsense too. This part of your demand assumes that I believe nothing happened to any of the things you mentioned after God finished his very good creation. The Bible is full of history that took place after creation, and worlds have been spinning for almost 2,000 years since the Bible was finished. I figure plenty can happen in about 7,200 years. You ought to be amazed by how much has happened in those years compared to the boring history of what secular historians believe happened during the alleged preceding 200,000 years. One might be led to suspect that someone is grossly exaggerating the length of true human history.

    You felt free to present “[a] big challenge” for me. Big? A silly or ridiculous challenge seems more like it to me. Let me present a reasonable challenge for you. How about answering some questions in my comments? Take your pick. If you dare. Be brave. Go for it, please.

  5. Tom Godfrey says:

    Moderator,

    This comment is for your webmaster or UI designer (probably not one of general interest).

    It would be nice to have a new feature here that would allow a participant to edit or delete one of his own comments. Maybe this is too much to ask.

    Here’s another suggestion that might be easier to implement. When a page of old comments fills up, leaving insufficient room for a newly submitted comment, it goes on a new page, but after the page is refreshed, the participant still sees the page with the most recent old comments, not the new page.

    This happened to me yesterday. I submitted a fairly long comment the day before and saw it go on the current page with the “Your comment is awaiting moderation” notice. The next morning, I noticed a serious error in my own comment and tried to submit a brief comment to correct it. This one went on the next page, but I didn’t notice this, so I thought something went wrong, and it didn’t get processed. Later in the day, I posted another long comment that included a note about the same correction, but when it got through, because of more comments that had passed moderation by then, I could finally see what had happened.

    My suggestion for this scenario is to show the participant the new page with just his one new comment on it. It would also be nice to extend the note about awaiting moderation to mention (in this scenario only) that older comments can still be accessed by clicking the << Older Comments link at the bottom of the page.

    I have one other quick suggestion for you. I know that it is possible for a comment to have bold or italic parts, because I have seen some of Perry’s with such embellishments, but it is not obvious how this should be marked in a submitted comment, and I would hate to bother a moderator by experimenting. Do we go with (HTML) or what? In the meantime, I have been using *…* as a workaround for bold or italics. My suggestion is to add a brief note about this just above the Comment textbox in the “Leave a Reply” section.

  6. Mike Bay says:

    Tom has missed the point again…

    Tom refuses to discuss his real history of the 6×24 hours of the Genesis creation account. Everything we put in the 15 billion year box Tom puts in his 6×24 hour box.
    Essentially nothing has changed in the last 7200 years. If we had experienced the massive plate movements it would have been recorded in written history or told in the mythology. Same thing with massive meteor strikes like the one that wiped out the dinosaurs. The earth has undergone massive upheaval in the past.

    There are 2 realms or eras for Tom. 1) 6×24 literal earth hours followed by 2) 7200 literal earth years. That’s it!

    The above mentioned catastrophes occurs in one box or the other. If in the latter we would have heard about them in human records and mythology. We haven’t. That leaves us the first box. All of it happened in the first 6×24 hours.

    Tom gives us zero insight into what happened in those 6×24 hours except to say it was a miracle. Folks, put your brains on hold. Do not attempt to think. Ask no questions. The 6×24 hours is a locked mystery swelling in miracles. Make no extrapolations from our current 7200 year’s. Speed of light? Forget about speed of light in those 6×24 hours. It could have been s zillion miles per second. All the laws of physics are out the window in those 6×24 hours. Let your imagination run wild. Massive earth upheavals? Sure. Throw that in, too. Mt Everest rising from the sea in 6×24 hours? Sure! It was a miracle! Who are you to question God? Building 10,000 vertical feet of sediment within 6×24 hours? Sure! God spoke and there they were. Just like the wedding feast wine. But the millions of fossils embedded? Sure! Why not? Nice decorations! Don’t Ask any questions. Genesis 1 and 2 is all you need. God did not give us rational minds with which to think and reason. He gave us those minds do that we can do our daily chores. If Hod intended us to see into the heavens he would have given us telescopic eyes. We are so far out of line in even asking these questions. We, the thinkers, are certainly deserving of hell.

    Tom, you have painted yourself into a really bizarre corner. Do not ever again speak in terms of millions of billions of years. You are forbidden to use those words. Say what you like but only in the context of 6×24 hours followed by approximately 7200 years. If it’s 7337 years, fine. You can make the corrction. I speak in approximation. About 7200 years.

    That is your reality. There is no other reality. There is nothing before the 6×24 hour period. Nothing except God.

    Tom, let me make a prediction. You are not going to have this conversation. You are not going to discuss the Grand Canyon, gallacies, layers, speed of light… any of it… within these 2 boxes, namely 6×24 hours and 7200 years.

    You will obfuscate by referring back to previous articles and by attempting to clarify previous notations but YOU WILL NOT DISCUSS THE ISSUES AT HAND WITHIN YOUR 2 BOXES OF TIME. Ain’t goin’ to happen. Ever.

  7. Tom Godfrey says:

    Mike,

    On December 27, you quoted a comment I wrote for you months ago, back on July 14 to be exact:
    “Tom writes, ‘By the way, I am not claiming that God created those layers instantaneously, fossils and all. The Bible does not tell us when or how the Grand Canyon or those layers were formed, ‘“
    After the quotation, which was not an answer to any question you had asked me, you wrote, “WRONG ANSWER. Your view of the Bible tells you that God created those layers and all their millions of fossils in the 24 hour days of creation.” How often do you see hubris like this in a serious discussion? How can you possibly know what *my* view of the Bible tells *me*?

    Once again, you guessed wrong. My view of the Bible tells me no such thing. My view tells me that the Bible left “those layers and all their millions of fossils” as unsolved mysteries, maybe with a few hints, and your guessed solution to the mystery is one I never stated here. There is no good reason to conclude that God must have miraculously created thousands of feet of lithified, fossiliferous sediments in his very good creation. They might have a miraculous origin as an unreported aspect or ramification of the curse on the ground (Gen. 3:17). Some of them could have been deposited naturally after creation but have been assigned an age that is grossly exaggerated. One can only speculate. Mysteries remain unsolved for all of us.

    Maybe by now you have decided that it is better to ask *me* what *I* think than to guess while pretending to know for sure, since your record of guessing right is so poor. You ought to be concerned about embarrassing yourself on a public forum with no way for you to delete stuff.

    Our lengthy discussion began with your challenge to consider Grand Canyon evidence and a question about whether I had even been there. I told you I had been there (both rims) and promptly took up your challenge. You dismissed my response as “calculator jazz” and switched to a discussion of virtual history. That was last July.

    About a week ago, you wrote, “Now let’s look at the layers. … How long does it take for 1 layer of sediment to dry out? Multiple that by the zillion layers in the Grand Canton … Do the math.” I did the math related to the average thickness of annual deposits of sediment. The next day, you wrote, “Forget all your layer calculations. … Nothing else matters in this thread… Gallaxies spinning. Supernovae. Distance to Andromeda measured in light years. All of it! You have 6 24hour days to cram it all in. Get started. Make sense of it. And please DO NOT reference back to previous threads with time date stamps. I do not care and do not read them. Focus.” Who is having trouble with focus here? Shifting focus suddenly seems to me to be a convenient way for you to dodge my hard questions. It was pretty much the same story when I asked for a clear statement of your COBE argument and when you briefly seemed to be interested in defending Perry’s speed of light argument. You came back to COBE again on December 27 but said, “Let the reader read up on the details. This was science at it’s finest,” again without telling us what to read or explaining in your own words how COBE studies were used to determine an age. I looked but did not find what you are talking about. What *are* you talking about?

    I need to clarify some more confusion that you introduced in that same December 27 comment, but I’ll also comment on an interesting summary of your own position and model the way I think things like this ought to be discussed seriously and rationally in an atmosphere of mutual respect. Maybe the approach will catch on.

    You wrote, “Tom has thrown all Old Earthers into the NO MIRACLE bandwagon.” To be accurate, you should have said that I have thrown them onto the no miracle *before mankind came into existence* bandwagon. However, on second thought, I admit that some of the people you are talking about do acknowledge that God might have performed some miracles even during that most remote period of ancient history. Good catch. For example, one might say, as you did, “The life code was designed. The complexity is incredible. The odds of this coming together by chance is zero.” You might therefore solve the problem by saying that God did it (miraculously).

    However, as soon as you do this, you risk being branded as a pseudoscientist. To avoid that label, I think you are supposed to say something like, “The odds of this coming together by chance are close to zero, but do not forget the millions of years, the gazillions of simultaneous trials, and the fact that it eventually did happen. The exact way it happened remains an unsolved mystery but one that scientists may soon unravel. Just think of all the mysteries they have already unraveled. Keep the faith.”

    Nevertheless, I am happy to learn that we both reject the no-miracle presupposition. What remains unclear is your basis for deciding whether a report of a miracle in the Bible should be believed. You evidently believe in a miraculous creation, because you said you believe “the Creator God designed the heavens and earth and in particular life as we know it. Design and life are the hallmarks of the living creator God.” After all, this implies unscientific divine intervention at some point. If you reject a miracle report in the Bible because some scientist claims it could not have happened, what do you do when you come to Josh. 10:12-14? Do you reject the idea that the sun stood still because of problems associated with stopping and restarting the rotation of the earth? Do you conclude that God may be omnipotent, but he certainly cannot solve a heat problem this enormous?

    What about the miraculous creation of Adam and Eve as adults ready for marriage on Day 6? You proposed that “The Creator God did this process [of putting a man to sleep and creating a woman out of him] thousands if not millions of times over hundreds of millions of years… God put to sleep a creature and performed a design adjustment or design innovation.” Are you telling me that you reject the idea of a miraculous creation that was finished in six literal days? If so, is this because modern experts analyzed physical evidence under their no-miracle presupposition and taught that the story in Genesis cannot possibly be true? You must realize that those same experts would laugh just as hard at your proposed idea concerning design adjustment or design innovation. Won’t theologians wonder where you got the idea that God develops his designs like human designers, by trial and error? Is this supposed to be a biblical concept? If so, please explain.

    Let’s set aside the issue of dates and timing and focus briefly on epistemology. You may be an expert in biology and molecular biology in particular, but you evidently rely on the research, opinions, and conclusions of many other scientists as you decide what you know about origins. I assume that you also read the Bible. If there is a conflict between what the Bible clearly teaches and what secular evidence tentatively suggests, how do you resolve it? So far, it looks to me as though you normally either reinterpret what the Bible says to try to harmonize it with what your secular sources say, or you ignore the Bible and go with the secular sources by faith, or you can also feel free to invent some idea of your own, one not borrowed from any other authority. If I misunderstood, please clarify.

    You described two worldviews held by Christians and said, “Tom is a dear fellow who sees things as black and white. He sees only 2 options. He holds to the 6 day creation and dismisses the notion of the billions of years and everything said to have happened during those years.” I already denied your black-and-white charge a week ago and challenged you to document your reason for leveling it. Your response is evidently just to repeat the charge. I deny it again today. Not guilty. I still see more than just those two options, but this time, I also have to deny that I dismiss “everything said to have happened during those [billions of] years.” The layers and fossils are all quite real, but either their alleged dates or speculative stories about them may well be wrong or misleading.

    You found fault with the creationist idea that God used a master plan to build life in the days of creation, saying, “Well, the master plan is riddled with errors. Documented errors.” You evidently found arguments related to pseudogenes highly persuasive. It is interesting that you brought this up. Back in 2004, I got into a long email discussion with Dr. Ed Max that lasted for months. It was all about this article that he had posted on TalkOrigins.
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/molgen/
    I think it covers essentially the same argument that you tried to make briefly, only in excruciating detail.

    I would be glad to discuss this new topic with you too. It is in your field, right? I must admit being a little nervous about doing this though. You may switch topics on me again to avoid the hard questions. Nevertheless, if you are serious about wanting to go there, it would help if you first explained counterarguments that you have already considered and refuted, or pointed me to critical articles that you have read from a biblical creationist perspective. If you haven’t even started considering problems with your pseudogene argument, but you now have enough confidence in it to dare to do this, here is my suggestion for a place to begin.
    https://answersingenesis.org/genetics/junk-dna/the-smell-of-change-in-our-understanding-of-pseudogenes/
    And here is a longer, more recent, and more technical article on the same topic. It should not be over your head. It will be interesting to see whether your comments on it, if any, are over *my* head.
    https://answersingenesis.org/genetics/junk-dna/the-smell-of-change-in-our-understanding-of-pseudogenes/

    If you would rather ignore uncomfortable problems, let’s not waste our time on this topic either. I just saw your comment from this morning, but this one is already plenty long. I plan to get around to it too. Please be patient.

  8. Mike Bay says:

    Perry, that’s the point. This is an attempt to get Tom to face his own worldview in his own terms. Not just Tom but all the YEC advocates. I think as they try to view all of creation from WITHIN their own box it will eventually hit them.

  9. Tom Godfrey says:

    Mike,

    Almost caught up. I don’t want to refuse to discuss anything of mutual interest. Did you decide not to accept my challenge to answer some of my questions? Never mind. I think your latest comment answers at least this one question.

    It looks as though you still like the idea of distorting my position and waiting for me to deny it, so here we go again. You said, “Everything we put in the 15 billion year box Tom puts in his 6×24 hour box. Essentially nothing has changed in the last 7200 years.” Wrong again. Plenty has changed since God completed the six days of creation, and the changes were especially dramatic when Adam sinned, even though Genesis provides only exiguous details about the physical effects of the curses on creation. I never claimed that all sediments that you “put in the 15 billion year box” were already in the finished, very good creation. Stars and galaxies are another matter. I assume that none of them were created later, but this is not to say that the curses had no effect on them at all. See Rom. 8:21.

    Are you a prophet or a son of a prophet? As far as I am concerned, your prediction that I will never discuss the issues at hand within my two boxes of time has just been shown to be wrong, unless you really meant to predict that I will never explain how God created stuff. If we ever get to know how a miracle is performed, I think it will be due to an education we receive in glory.

    Normally, a rational discussion involves both sides asking questions and answering questions posed by the other side. Your side seems to be stuck on asking questions and issuing orders or making demands. My side has been answering questions and clarifying distortions while receiving few signs of comprehension and honest engagement. That’s not much of a discussion, but we can do better, right?

    I am still interested in finding out reasons you may have for believing that the universe is nearly three times older than the earth, making the latter young in comparison. You have an opportunity here to defend the idea by pointing out reasons I may have overlooked or not taken seriously enough. As far as specific dates or ages are concerned, the book on the Grand Canyon (the one that Perry had me read) relied entirely on radiometric dating and ignored evidence that tended to cast doubt on its credibility. If you know about other ways to get a specific age of the universe, please explain it in your own words or give me a link to an article that explains it.

    I would also still like to know the *minimum* amount of time it would take for Grand Canyon layers to be deposited through the action of known processes unfolding at plausible or reasonable rates. I think the book avoided this question and concentrated instead on the *actual* time it took, according to studies of results of radiometric dating. If we knew the minimum time, we could estimate how much of the reconstructed history could be reasonably assigned to real history (dated after creation) and how much of it ought to be considered virtual history (dated before creation). Of course, every bit of the solid earth is quite real.

    On Perry’s speed of light argument, you speculated that the speed of light “could have been [a] zillion miles per second” when the stars were created. I do not deny the possibility, but this looks like a straw man to me, because I have not suggested here that the speed of light changed. I have proposed a miraculous expansion of space similar to the natural expansion of space that is used to explain the current distance to the edge of the observable universe being so much farther away than it should be, given the alleged age of the universe and the current speed of light. I am still waiting for a good reason to reject the idea. Do you have one now? Is it just that I cannot detail for you how the miracle worked in theory? Of course, God could have worked the miracle of distant star creation in some other way that I cannot even begin to imagine. I am like you. I can only speculate.

    I understand that you are still pressing me to explain how God could have created the heavens and the earth in only six days only about 7,200 years ago. As you pointed out in your comment, a tremendous amount of work had to be squeezed into that one week. Even if some of what we see today has changed dramatically since that first week came to an end, there is still a lot of explaining to do, and not even secular experts claim to have everything figured out. As you know, we can believe what Genesis has to say about this, but it offers us only a synopsis. To answer your latest challenge, I stand by this paragraph from a comment (in square brackets) that I wrote for you nearly two weeks ago.

    [You seem to assume that if a geologic stratum was not formed within the past few thousand years, as dated by modern geologists, then Aardsma is committed to the idea that it must have been created instantaneously (or at least suddenly) during the week of creation. You are forgetting about the Fall of Adam, not to mention the time between those events recorded in Genesis and modern times, and you are assuming that the dates proposed by geologists have to be accepted as correct. They don’t, as you ought to know. A given stratum could have formed naturally but was erroneously dated to be millions of years old. We may not be able to tell you how or when a given stratum was deposited. The Bible does not even attempt to cover this kind of detail, and no one, not even a geologist, is under any obligation to tackle this assignment either. If it turns out that dates proposed by geologists are greatly exaggerated, I doubt that this would have any practical impact on anything that really matters to us, like exploration for fossil fuels, for instance.]

    If this explanation still seems problematic to you, please refute something specific that you think cannot be right, or ask a specific question to clarify something that makes no sense to you, or add something that you consider important, but I failed to mention it. You can ask questions to your heart’s content, of course, but if I don’t know or cannot know the answer, please accept my apologies. I promise to be honest with you. I think we should agree that people can go through life without knowing in scientific or mathematical detail how everything came into existence, and it won’t hurt a bit (John 20:29). It does seem important to me to recognize God as our creator who therefore owns us and deserves to be recognized as our Lord. Maybe we can agree on this much at least.

    God certainly did give us rational minds, which people have used in modern times to develop technologies for investigating nature in ways that were not available for most of human history. We can even use what we learn to speculate about origin stories. No problem. I recommend using this knowledge to enrich the history that God gave us, not to try to refute it or justify doubting it (Rom. 3:3-4). All have sinned (Rom. 3:23), even we thinkers, and the penalty for our sin is death (Rom. 6:23) and condemnation (John 3:18b), but — hallelujah! — this is not the end of the story (Rom. 4:25). Jesus saves.

  10. Tom Godfrey says:

    Mike,

    After supper, I noticed that I did not address your reasoning about catastrophes, specifically massive upheaval, meteor strikes, and plate movements. You thought that they must be confined to the first week, or else “we would have heard about them in human records and mythology. We haven’t. That leaves us the first box. All of it happened in the first 6×24 hours.” This logic might make sense if we knew the timing and locations involved and could be sure that these events would have been noticed by a population of people both inclined to pass down stories of what they survived and successful enough in doing this for us to know about them in our time. The fact that you haven’t heard about such things hardly stands as credible proof that they did not occur at any time in human history, not even when the human population consisted of just Adam and Eve. Maybe this is just more of your hubris. Or maybe I am too humble to agree with you.

    I also saw that Perry encouraged you to wait for me to “put together a cogent explanation of what happened in those six 24 hours days. Stars, galaxies, sediment, etc.” I suppose I could speculate, but even if I did, and even if you had no way to refute my guesses, no one should trust me, of all people, to have discovered the way it all happened in the beginning. I wasn’t there, but neither were the modern experts. Speculation is the best anyone can do, based on physical evidence instead of God’s word. If a living cell were to appear through natural processes in a modern experiment intended to reflect primitive conditions, not even this would prove that this must be what actually happened in the beginning.

    I still think the real difference here is our choice of authority on origins. Whatever tentative speculation I might “put together” is going to be worthless. I trust what God told us in Genesis and recommend this choice to everyone else. What do you trust? Who is your highest authority on the origin of the universe and of life on earth? If your most trustworthy authority is different from mine, what rationale do you offer for your preference? These may be hard questions, but I hope you will face them at some point.

    You wanted me “to face [my] own worldview in [my] own terms” and not just me “but all the YEC advocates,” thinking that “as [we] try to view all of creation from WITHIN [our] own box it will eventually hit [us].” I think we have already done this, but you have trouble acknowledging this, because we accept different authorities, and according to yours, we are still wrong, because we still disagree with you and your experts. I suspect you are waiting for it to hit us that we should have rated your human authorities higher than the word of God. Meanwhile, we are hoping that it works the other way around.

  11. Tom Godfrey says:

    Mike,

    One more thing for this evening. I think the big advantage of a discussion like this is an opportunity to expose our ideas to critical scrutiny, just in case we have overlooked something important. I have not intentionally dodged any of your questions, so I am left feeling even more confident that I chose my position on origins well. I can defend it with confidence. I don’t know about you. You seem to have dodged my challenges well, but what does this say about your own level of confidence? Turning a blind eye to problems should at least afford you a comfortable illusion that your position is incontrovertible, but this might not be so wonderful if the truth really matters. Does it matter in this case?

  12. Mike Bay says:

    One step at a time. Good advice. Focus like a laser.

  13. Tom Godfrey says:

    Mike, right. Focus is good. You get to pick a topic.

  14. Tom Godfrey says:

    Mike,

    While I was waiting for you to pick a topic, I thought some more about your “put your brains on hold” remark in your most recent substantive comment (unless I am missing one still under moderation). I guess you are really disappointed that I did not accept your challenge to speculate about how God could have accomplished so much creation work in just one week and left behind evidence that suggests (to some people) too much history to fit into the approximately 7,200 years that Dr. Aardsma proposes as the true age of the earth and the universe.

    I suspect you find the fossils especially problematic in the framework I prefer. For both you and Perry, the stars are also problematic, right? I still maintain that believers have no obligation to explain how God performed any miracle, so if you point to distant galaxies and say it would take a miracle for us to see them already if they came into existence only around 5176 B.C., our honest response can be, “You may be right about this. So what?”

    However, there are creationists with better credentials than mine who actually have some theories that you may find interesting. I do not present them here as necessarily correct. Like any scientific theory, even their speculation is subject to change as more is learned. You ought to recognize that this is the case with your experts’ speculation as well. You may not have been exposed to what I am about to show you. If an apparent lack of creationist answers to your questions has been a stumbling block for you, finding out that your experts failed to mention these alternative ideas may both kick this obstacle out of the way and suggest that people may have trouble seeing (or taking seriously) anything that does not mesh with their preconceived notions.

    My big idea here is that the fossils and catastrophic upheavals you mentioned were not a part of the very good creation that God finished in six days. The stars, however, certainly were. I theorize that the evidence of death and great upheavals were mostly effects of the curse on the ground (Gen. 3:17). Some miraculous alteration of the very good creation may have taken place before Adam and Eve had any children. Some of it may have taken an unspecified number of centuries to unfold more gradually as side effects.

    You may protest that the Grand Canyon and the layers through which it cut could not have formed so rapidly. I am certainly in no position to prove that they could have, let alone state when each layer was deposited, but I have been interested in the minimum amount of time necessary. Evidently, few geologists wearing their historian hat have cared about this, being much more intent on figuring an actual amount of time considered acceptable in the mainstream scientific community.

    There is, however, good reason to believe that layers could have been deposited much more rapidly than your experts consider possible. In this “mudrock revolution” lecture, Dr. Steven A. Austin explains:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVDxgzMO3mk

    To show how fossils may fit in, I turn to Dr. Kurt Wise, a paleontologist, for a possible explanation. He is convinced that Noah’s Flood was responsible for most of the fossils, an idea that Dr. Aardsma rejects, but I think those fossils could have been deposited at or soon after the time of the Fall of Adam, possibly in a series of floods not specifically covered in the Bible but associated with the miraculous curse. This would explain why fossils are found in places not reached by the Flood according to the Aardsma model. Please listen to his lecture with my theory in mind:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCdt6LjvFvA

    Moving back to star creation on Day 4, I have two experts to recommend. First, here is Dr. Danny R. Faulkner presenting creationist ideas about cosmogony. He eventually explains his remarkable theory about the cosmic microwave background (CMB), a theory that was new even to me:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfgqV_6XxAE
    Second, here is an interview with Dr. D. Russell Humphreys where he explains his ideas about distant starlight.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXFnXro6ObA
    This is the same Humphreys who made predictions about planetary magnetic fields that came true, so this should encourage skeptics to take notice. Here is an article with a nice update on magnetic evidence.
    https://creation.com/the-earths-magnetic-field-evidence-that-the-earth-is-young

    I already admitted that one or more of these theories may eventually be found wanting and need to be rejected, but even if this happens, one should not jump to the conclusion that creationists cannot possibly invent suitable replacements. Even if no replacement is ever found, it would not mean that your experts must be right, or that God could not have done what Genesis says he did. As you know, the discovery of dinosaur soft tissue has not forced your experts to stop believing that the fossils are millions of years old. They keep the faith, confident that a natural means of tissue preservation may yet be discovered. This approach works both ways. Both sides should avoid resorting to an irrational argument from ignorance.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_ignorance

    I just put a lot of outside material on the table all at once, but you don’t have to go to a library or buy a book, right? Most of this stuff is on YouTube. You could just sit back, take your time, listen without straining your eyes, and still finish in far less time than it took me to read the Grand Canyon book that Perry required me to read as a condition for engagement. I make no threat or demand at all, but if you decide to ignore this stuff, I should assume that you are not really interested in these topics. This would be fine with me. You may be like the “blessed” people who believe without seeing (John 20:29). On the other hand, maybe you will choose one of these topics and focus on it “like a laser” in a discussion with Perry or me.

    To lighten up discussion, let me throw in some music with one more question to ponder. I hope your answer to it is the same as the one given in Jer. 32:17.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yR-gtkuHEbg

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