This one is a classic. It’s at the website of Answers in Genesis (ol’ Hambo’s online ministry). The title is Does Astronomy Confirm a Young Universe?, and it appears to be a chapter in some kind of creationist book.
The authors are Dr. Don DeYoung and Dr. Jason Lisle. Here is DeYoung’s biography page at AIG, which makes it clear that he’s a creationist physicist. He teaches what they call physics at Grace College and Theological Seminary. Our readers are already familiar with Jason Lisle, the creationist astrophysicist, who left AIG a couple of years ago to become director of whatever it is that they call research at the Institute for Creation Research. For some reason, Jason is a co-author of what we found today at AIG.
We’re all eager to learn what those two towering intellects have to say about the age of the universe, so here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us and their scripture references omitted:
One of the common objections to biblical creation is that scientists have supposedly demonstrated that the universe is much older than the Bible teaches. The first chapter of Genesis clearly teaches that God created all things in six days (“ordinary” days as defined by an evening and morning) and that human beings were created on the sixth day. This is confirmed and clarified in the other Scriptures as well …. And since the Bible records about four thousand years between Adam and Christ, the biblical age of the universe is about 6,000 years. This stands in stark contrast with the generally accepted secular age estimate of 4.6 billion years for the earth, and three times longer still, 13.7 billion years, for the universe beyond.
That sums up the alleged “controversy,” which is nothing more than a refusal by some theologians to accept what science has discovered since Genesis was written, about 3,000 years ago. We’re told that this is important to those theologians because:
This fundamental time discrepancy is no small matter. It is obvious that if the secular age estimate is correct, then the Bible is in error and cannot be trusted. Conversely, if the Bible really is what it claims to be, the authoritative Word of God, then something is seriously wrong with the secular estimates for the age of the universe.
Many denominations don’t see science as a frighteningly hostile challenge to their religion, but the AIG view is that science presents a pure “us vs. them” struggle for survival. So how do they deal with it? Let’s read on:
Since the secular time scale challenges the authority of Scripture, Christians must be ready to give an answer — a defense of the biblical time scale.
For those who agree with AIG that science must be denied, here’s how it’s done:
It turns out that all secular age estimates are based on two fundamental (and questionable) assumptions. These are naturalism (the belief that nature is all there is), and uniformitarianism (the belief that present rates and conditions are generally representative of past rates and conditions).
Those aren’t “assumptions” that have been arbitrarily adopted by science. They are operational procedures that are followed because un-contradicted experience demonstrates: (1) no reliable evidence exists for either supernatural phenomena or chaotically fluctuating natural laws; and (2) adhering to demonstrable evidence is how testable and verifiable work gets done. Interestingly, the authors include a footnote that mentions something we’ve been saying for a long time around here — but they don’t take it too seriously. Their footnote says:
Some scientists hold to a softer form of naturalism called “methodological naturalism.” This is the concept that a supernatural realm may indeed exist, but should not be considered when doing scientific study. For all intents and purposes, the naturalist does not accept that there is anything beyond nature — at least when he or she is doing science.
That completely misstates the meaning of methodological naturalism. Science, of necessity, deals only with evidence that can be verifiably detected. If there were evidence of supernatural phenomena, science would be delighted to examine it. Until then, there’s nothing science can do with unevidenced theological claims. But the door is always open in the event such evidence becomes available. The AIG article continues:
Secular scientists assume that the earth and universe were not created supernaturally (the assumption of naturalism), and that they generally change in the slow-and-gradual way that we see today (the assumption of uniformitarianism). If these starting assumptions are not correct, then there is no reason to trust the resulting age estimates.
Aaaargh!! Those are not arbitrary assumptions that mindlessly exclude supernaturalism. Again, it’s the procedure of science to consider the evidence — all the evidence — and there is no verifiable evidence of supernatural activity. We should also mention that all the available evidence indicates that the laws of nature have never changed. For a superb example regarding the speed of light, see How Old Is The Creationists’ Universe?, and for evidence that the mass ratio between electrons and protons has remained the same over the past 7.5 billion years, see Hey, Creationists: Laws of Nature Don’t Change. Okay, back to AIG:
But notice something about the assumptions of naturalism and uniformitarianism: they are anti-biblical assumptions.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We’re already pointed out that they aren’t “assumptions” at all — rather, they’re the conclusions of centuries of observation and testing. As for being anti-biblical, that’s neither the intent of science nor is it a problem for science. Rather than saying that science is anti-biblical (which was never its purpose), a better way to put it is to say that the bible is unscientific, because it’s full of untestable declarations. That’s not a condemnation — love is unscientific too. But unlike creationists, people in love aren’t motivated to deny science. Moving along, we’re told:
So, by assuming naturalism and uniformitarianism, the secular scientist has already assumed that the Bible is wrong. He then estimates that the universe is very, very old, and concludes that the Bible must be wrong. But this is what he assumed at the start. His argument is circular.
Aaaargh!! Here’s one more excerpt:
It’s the logical fallacy called “begging the question.” But all old-earth (and old-universe) arguments assume naturalism and uniformitarianism. Therefore, they are all fallacious circular arguments. That’s right — all of them.
That’s really pathetic stuff. The rest of the article (we’re less than halfway into it) is their presentation of a pack of creationist arguments that have been refuted thousands of times. We won’t take the time to bother with them. If you want to see what’s wrong with their arguments, you can find them all debunked at the TalkOrigins Index to Creationist Claims.
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