Creation - ID and age and naturalism
David Heddle and I have been having a discussion of sorts. David's first post on Intelligent Design, Evolution and Creation is well worth reading, but as I discuss in this post, misses some very important points about young earth creationists.
David has posted another interesting discussion of Fine Tuning as it relates to Young earth/Old earth ideas that definitely merits a good look. In it David outlines how he is responding
In thinking about how to respond, I could do one of two things:Detailed physics responses are always of interest to me and I am always looking to read more, so I would have been happy for either of these options, unfortunately David thinks his readers would not be interested (As is his right on his own blog. Don't get me wrong, I am just saying I would have been happy for either of these approaches as I think both are useful in learning and discovering truth)
1. Post detailed physics responses, or
2. Post rebuttal links
The first would drive most readers away (plus I have this pesky day job). The second produces a really boring battle of links.
David continues with a couple of paragraphs that seem to highlight the real issue
I have decided to do neither. I am assuming that the interested reader can do his or her own Google searches. For example, one of the topics raised was the alternative young-universe cosmology of Russell Humphreys. Googling will lead to the expected results: secular physicists and old-earth creationists claiming that Humphreys's cosmology is unsalvageable, and YECs largely (though not unanimously) supportive.
This raises an interesting question: Which group is more prone to letting their presuppositions cloud their judgment? Do secular physicists actually conspire, as some have claimed, to discard any radiometric data that points to a young earth? Or are YECs, filled with good intentions, likely to be less than critical of the science behind theories that support a young earth?
I think David has missed the point in his second paragraph. ALL science is done on a foundation of presuppositions. It is not which is less likely to be critical, because both are operating and building on their assumptions. This is why it is no suprise to find secular scientists and old-earth creationists at odds with Humphrey's theories. This is because they are operating on a completely different set of presuppositions.
David further highlights how the nature (pun intended) of his own presuppositions is unable to be removed from his own scientific analysis. Later on is his post he says
Matter, of course, is not naturally ionized; it is naturally neutral. The experimenters had to create an artificial situation by ionizing atoms. Then they watched for beta decay and (to nobody's surprise) saw enhanced rates....Paraphrasing AIG: To have sufficient ions, God first created a plasma which persists for several hours.Notice how David talks about how matter is not naturally ionized and then makes a big deal about AIG's possible explanations (And make no mistake, it is possible and consistent with scripture. Note that possible does not imply any degree of probability). David makes a big deal that there is no scientific evidence to support these ideas. Yet the very evidence of apparent age in the rocks is the support. You merely have to come from the presupposition of Genesis being the straight forward word of God to see this.
...There is no scientific evidence that the universe ever existed of this heavy ion plasma. Furthermore, there is no biblical basis for allocating a few of the hours of day-one to this plasma state.
The article then acknowledges that even the enhanced decay rate would have to be augmented by another controversial theory.
But now, many people may be thinking how biased this way of thinking is. That it isn't science? The problem with this is, that most science these days operates under the presupposition of naturalism, that God does not exist. An example of conclusions that David may be aware of are replete in the Big Bang itself. For instance, Edwin Hubble, when looking at red-shifts noticed how they seem to place earth at the center of the universe claimed "Such a condition would imply that we occupy a unique position in the universe...This hypothesis cannot be disproved, but it is unwelcome....the unwelcome position of a favored location must be avoided at all costs....such a favored position is intolerable" (The Observational Approach to Cosmology, pp. 50-55, 1937). Hubble's presupposition forced his conclusion. And on that conclusion was born assumptions about our universe that are inherent in the big bang cosmology. Because if we are not at the center of the universe (As hubble's evidence suggests), then all places must appear as if they were at the center (homogenous).
It seems however, that these basic presuppositions and the many assumptions that are built on them are not able to be tested in the scientific community these days as it is considered heresy to question the big bang. This open letter to the scientific community outlines why this is the case.
So we have a situation where all this research has been done based on naturalistic assumptions, and even old earth creationists continue to rely on this research in their claims that the universe is old. The problem is, if we can't question Big Bang or its presuppositions then all conclusions about cosmology that is based upon those presuppositions is logically suspect.
This is what Russell Humphrey's work on white hole cosmology started to investigate. What if the universe is not homogenous? What if it has boundaries? Unfortunately, due to the current scientific climate, making progress in this line of thinking is next to impossible. Which brings us back to David's original statement...most secular and old-age researchers disagree with Humphrey's cosmology. But the basis of this disagreement is theory that is built upon presuppositions. So, no, creationists are not unbiased, but neither are the big bangers. Both have made big assumptions and these assumptions guide their conclusions, and that I think is what David doesn't get.
For one final comment, David asks Young earthers think about fine tuning. Let me say that this is the first time I have ever heard the argument that the fine tuning of the universe is against a Young Earth position. From this limited exposure to this idea I fail to see why these arguments do not support any theistic position. David claims that
One important class of fine-tuning arguments is found in the fact that the nuclear chemistry behind the life cycle of stars is exceedingly balanced and fortuitous. A minor tweak here or there to an energy level, or a small change in the values of physical constants, and stars (if they existed at all) would behave very differently—the result being that they would not seed the universe with life-essential heavy elements.
...Surely it would be better for the YEC view if science, puzzled, told us that there is no way exploding stars could (a) ever happen and/or (b) produce the observed quantity of heavy elements.
This seems to be a slightly short term view of the universe. Whilst the young earth creationist would argue the earth is young (But not necessarily the universe as time is relative), there is no requirement to assume that we may not be around for long enough to explore and use these created heavier elements. It also seem to miss the point that if these minor tweaks happened, we would not only be in a universe that couldn't produce life, but we wouldn't be an a universe that sustains life. As such, it is very consistent with a Young Earth position.