Is biblical creationism valid?
Accepted. Biblical creationism is a valid scientific theory of the origins of the universe, the Earth, and a living organisms.
In order for something to be considered valid, it has to have a well grounded basis . By this I mean, it must be in accordance to observed facts in reality. It must not, in other words contradict the laws of nature. One plus one equals two, and it will always equal two. Now when a topic like this comes up that makes claims about reality, we use the scientific method to determine truth from non truth. I will give a brief rundown of what the scientific method is ( these are not my words, sources below):
-Observe some aspect of the universe.
-Invent a tentative description, called a hypothesis, that is consistent with what you have observed.
-Use the hypothesis to make predictions.
-Test those predictions by experiments or further observations and modify the hypothesis in the light of your results.
-Repeat the preceding two steps until there are no discrepancies between theory and experiment and/or observation.
There is an immediate problem. Creationism is not based on observed facts about reality. It is based on things like faith, which creationists often freely admit. It's a tradition, or it makes them feel good to be part of "God's plan" or whatever the case may be. The start isn't an honest inquiry into observed phenomena, it's a dishonest non-inquiry into claims of the supernatural. It doesn't even qualify as a hypothesis, because a hypothesis has the basis of at least limited evidence. Creationism does, however, make claims about existence, claims which are testable and can be falsified. Here is a brief list:
-the universe was created by a supernatural being called Yahweh in six days, about 6000 years ago.
-It says that man was created by dirt, and then women by the rib of man.
- It says that a man named Noah brought two of each animal onto a large boat, because God flooded the entire world, killing everything else.
These are only a view examples, I just picked perhaps the most obvious ones. Lets look at the first one, the claim that God created everything approximately 6000 years ago. There is no dancing around it, this is simply not true. The earth is about 4.5 Billion years old, and the universe about 13.7 billion years give or take. There are several methods by which this is measured. To quote hubblesite.org, " Because all of the galaxies in the universe are generally moving apart, we infer that they must all have been much closer together sometime in the past. Knowing the current speeds and distances to galaxies, coupled with the rate at which the universe is accelerating, allows us to calculate how long it took for them to reach their current locations. The answer is about 14 billion years. " Another way is the length of time it takes the light from stars to reach us. The light from our sun takes about 8 minutes to reach us, but some stars take millions of years.
One of the main ways we know the earth is about 4.5 Billion years old is through various radiometric dating methods. Radiometric dating is essentially measuring the decay rate of certain isotopes. Different isotopes have different decay rates, for example the half life of carbon-14 is 5,730 years, while potassium 40 has a half life of around 1.3 billion years. Though these various methods, we can calculate that the age of the earth is roughly 4.5 billion years old.
The second claim is that God created all forms of life over the course of two days. This is also false. Life didn't just spontaneously appear in it's current form in one fell swoop, it evolved over the course of around 2 billion years. There is a mountain of evidence to support this claim, and I will only name a few and will hopefully expand on this later.
- The universal genetic code. All cells that we know of on earth are capable of reading any piece of DNA from any life form on Earth. This is very strong evidence for a common ancestor from which all life descended.
-Genetic similarities. We share more than 97% of our DNA with chimpanzees, 80% with cows, chickens about 68% etc. This suggests that that we shared a common ancestor in the past. And the amount of difference between our genomes corresponds to how long ago our genetic lines diverged.
-Bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Through random mutation, the bacteria the most resistant to a certain type of antibiotics will survive while the others die off. In the succeeding generations, most of the bacteria will be resistant to this particular type of antibiotics.
-Comparative Anatomy/vestigial structures/ homologous structures. On a surface level, animals that look very different from one another actually have a very similar physical structure. For example, underneath the fin of a whale, the skeletal "hand" is very similar to the hand of humans and chimps. Humans have tailbones .
Again, these are only a few examples, I will certainly expand upon this in the next couple of rounds.
Now finally, we have the issue of Noah and the flood. I will only point out a few obvious issues with this (more later, if you want).
- Gathering all the Animals. How could penguins, polar bears, moose, and plants have all gotten to the same place?
- The arks ability to support all the different species of animals. The ark was supposedly around 450 feet in length. They had to fit two of every type of animal on the planet, plus there's the issue of dinosaurs. How did they all fit?
-Maintaining animal life on the ark. Most elephants eat around 400 pounds of vegetation everyday, and drinks around 50 gallons of water and . How could they possibly fit all that food and fresh water into the ark for 40 days and 40 nights?
In short, biblical creationism makes specific, testible and therefore falsifiable claims about the nature of reality. When these claims are held up to scrutiny, they almost universally fail. To be a creationist it is necessary to deny so much of modern biology, biochemistry, physics, geology, cosmology, things that are grounded in scientific evidence and analysis. Blinders must be firmly applied so as not to see reality. In the next rounds, I will attempt to refute pro's more specific claims. I hope to demonstrate that biblical creationism is not only not a valid scientific theory, but also a laughable concept.
This concludes my opening argument, good luck pro.
It must be understood that we are dealing with historical science which by nature requires us to compare evidence to hypothetical models about the past when we weren't there. Since we cannot observe, test, or repeat past events, the normal operational scientific method cannot ultimately be used to justify any one position, rather, in a forensic science manner, we can only look at current, observable evidence and determine logically which model, if any, it best supports. While we can never ultimately prove any historical event in a purely mathematical sense, we can certainly invalidate a particular model and demonstrate support for another.
However, as a Bible-believing Christian, I expect God's created universe to be in accordance with God's inspired and preserved word, the Bible. To discover evidence which seems to contradict God's word would certainly bring the Bible into question, but I submit that no such evidence exists. An important point to consider is that science cannot contradict God's word since science is merely a process, tool, or means of discovery.
With this in mind, allow me to first present a concise case for biblical creationism utilizing observable, testable evidence consistent with the Genesis account, and then to address Con's claims.
Evidence for Intelligent Design
A reasonable prediction of the biblical creation model would be that evidence exists within organisms which testify to their being originally created by an intelligent agent as opposed to unguided natural processes. If it can be shown that the blueprint for all organic life, namely genomes, must have been created by an intelligent agent, any naturalistic model would be implausible
The cells of all organic life forms contain information in the form of genetic code. The chain of genetic code known as DNA harbors the amino acids which themselves contain no semantic meaning, but when placed in a linguistic sequence, can be readily utilized in forming every phenotype known to biology. The living cell demonstrates a system of communication, particularly between DNA and proteins. DNA codes for proteins which go on to form every part of a creature, including the very DNA from which it was coded.
The information in DNA is stored as a code made up of four chemical bases: adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and thymine (T). The order, or sequence, of these bases determines the information available for building and maintaining an organism, similar to the way in which letters of the alphabet appear in a certain order to form words and sentences, or even the way 1's and 0's appear in a certain order to form binary computer code. An important property of DNA is that it can replicate, or make copies of itself. Each strand of DNA in the double helix can serve as a pattern for duplicating the sequence of bases. This is critical when cells divide because each new cell needs to have an exact copy of the DNA present in the old cell (http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov...).
DNA serves as the blueprint for every creature's phenotype. Since DNA is a language system in which communication occurs between a sender and receiver, it can rightfully be said to contain true information. I quote information scientist Dr. Werner Gitt,
"To fully characterise the concept of information, five aspects must be considered: statistics, syntax, semantics, pragmatics and apobetics. Information is represented (that is, formulated, transmitted, stored) as a language. From a stipulated alphabet, the individual symbols are assembled into words (code). From these words (each word having been assigned a meaning), sentences are formed according to the firmly defined rules of grammar (syntax). These sentences are the bearers of semantic information. Furthermore, the action intended/carried out (pragmatics) and the desired/achieved goal (apobetics) belong of necessity to the concept of information. . . an encoded, symbolically represented message conveying expected action and intended purpose. We term any entity meeting the requirements of this definition as 'universal information' (UI) " (http://creation.com...).
In the function of the genome within living cells we find statistics in the form of four letters which are syntactically organized to give the semantic meaning for transcription and translation. The semantic meaning encoded in the genome is pragmatically utilized in the formation of proteins and thus integral to the process of replication which is a part of the apobetic, or intended goal of the digital code. Information intrinsically depends upon an original act of intelligence to construct it, therefore the information seen in living cells testifies to having been originally created by an intelligent Creator.
Note that this argument is not based upon the inability for naturalistic/statistical processes alone to account for the formation of genetic information, but rather my case is built upon what we do know about genetic code and function. Therefore this is not a god-of-the-gaps argument, as the claim is based on observation. Note also that this is not an argument from complexity but from specified universal information. To refute my case is actually quite a simple task; one must only need demonstrate a single case where universal information, of the type seen in genetic code, is derived entirely from purely material sources.
Evidence for a Young Earth
Planetary magnetic field decay describes the process by which Earth's magnetic field, which is produced via current in the metallic core, decays or diminishes in strength over time. This decay is accepted by both secular and creation scientists. "Ever since scientists generated the first global model of Earth’s magnetic field nearly 180 years ago, its strength has decreased by some 10 percent" (https://www.sciencenews.org...). The key issue of whether or not this supports a young Earth is how the magnetic field could maintain itself for more than thousands of years. Recent records of the International Geomagnetic Reference Field, the most accurate ever taken, show a net energy loss of 1.4% in just three decades (1970–2000). This means that the field’s energy has halved every 1,465 years or so. At this rate, the Earth cannot be much older than about 10 or 20,000 years. Unless Pro can adequately provide an observed mechanism which could sustain the field for millions of years, my case will stand (https://answersingenesis.org...).
Dr. Russell Humphreys, a well known creationist physicist, has provided a model which best represents and explains the phenomena of planetary magnetic field decay. In this model, magnetohydrodynamics accounts for the energy loss of the planetary dipole field: ". . .motions of the conducting fluid in the core should slowly twist the dipole magnetic lines of force into more complex shapes, subtracting from the dipole field and adding to the non-dipole field. Resistive losses then make the non-dipole field decay more rapidly, so eventually the latter type of losses should prevail" (http://www.creationresearch.org...).
Basically, Humphrey's model proposes that the decay we observe is due to ohmic losses in the dipole-generating current of Earth's liquid core. Both creationists and secularists believe that the Earth was set into motion, and from this motion the planetary magnetic field was produced. But since, physically, the Earth's core provides resistance and turbulence between the inner and outer core. This resistance then in turn slows down the current and thus weakens the strength of the dipole field over time.
For Pro to effectually refute my case for a young Earth, he must provide a valid reason why we should not accept Humphrey's model and why we should rather accept another such as the dynamo model. The data is quite clear that the Earth's magnetic field is decaying at quite a substantial rate, and if it truly is an exponential decay due to energy loss, then the biblical creation view of a less than 10,000 year old Earth is supported.
Evidence for a Global Flood
The biblical Flood of less than 5,000 years ago has left numerous geologic evidences. The Bible describes the "fountains of the deep" bursting open through the crust of the Earth which lead to the worldwide deluge. The scientific framework which best represents and explains this event as well as the natural phenomena observed within the field of plate tectonics is creationist geophysicist Dr. John Baumgardner's Catastrophic Plate Tectonics (CPT) model which accounts for the current geomorphology of the Earth's crust (http://www.icr.org...).
The CPT predicts the catastrophic subduction of the continents, such as the North American continent, which has beenvindicated by such evidences as the extraordinary large slip and seismic slip pulses recorded in the pseudotachylyte found within the Pasagshak Thrust fault of Kodiak Island, Alaska.
"Field data and thin-section analyses indicate multiple episodes of seismic slip have occurred on the Pasagshak Thrust, based on cross-cutting relations between PST veins and fracturing" (http://www.icr.org...). Thus the CPT model is supported while uniformitarian models are falsified. For pro to refute my case, he must provide evidence demonstrating why a uniformitarian model should be accepted over Dr. Baumgardner's.
I have demonstrated evidence consistent with intelligent design, a young Earth and a global deluge which all support the biblical creation model. These evidences are direct, concise and simultaneously refute naturalistic, uniformitarian and evolutionary explanations models. I will defend and expand upon my arguments if necessary. I will respond to Con's opening argument in the next round. On to Con. . .
One of the first mistakes made by my opponent makes in his argument is what is sometimes referred to as the "you weren't there" argument. We can observe certain thins done in the lab, we can build technology, but looking back into the past is an entirely different animal because we weren't there, we can't observe it, and therefore it cannot be looked at through the lense of science. While to someone who is not overly familiar with science this might seem logical initially, it quickly becomes apparent that it is nothing more than sheer nonsense. To best illustrate this, allow me to give a scenario:
Suppose the body of a young woman is found dead in a ditch by the side of the road. The police arrive on the scene and gather up evidence. Her boyfriend's blood is found at the scene as well as his finger prints. A mike or so away, a knife is discovered with her boyfriend's finger prints, as well as the woman's blood. It is also found out that the boyfriend owns a knife like that, and the knife matches the woman's wounds.
Now let's suppose that the trial is underway. The prosecuting attorney presents this evidence to the court. My opponent then presents his counter-evidence. His argument is as follows: " this murder had no witnesses. We cannot go back in time and observe the gruesome murder of that woman. We weren't there. Therefore, my client should be let go". This is not a strawman attempt, this is taking the same principles and apllying them to forensic science.
Unfortunately, due to computer difficulties and my monumental stupidity I will not really have time in this round to in depth address Dr. Russell Humphry's argument. Pro should use this round to expand upon his arguments, and take advantage of the situation. Fear not, I will pull out all stops in round 4 and attempt to mount a comeback, but as of right now pro can
Consider himself winning. I really must apologize.
This isn't a surrender though. Best of luck, my creationist friend.
Rebuttal to Con’s Round 2 Argument
I agree with Con concerning that all truth claims must be in accordance with the laws of nature, however, this is due to my belief in a trustworthy God of law and order who has given both the universe's laws of nature and man's capacity for logic and reason. Con on the other hand must assume the law of non-contradiction as well as the trustworthiness of the laws of nature.
Con's assertion, however,that essentially all truth claims must be tested against the scientific method is a philosophical construct; empiricism or scientism themselves cannot be supported by the scientific method. Truth can certainly exist in the form of revelation from God and activity of His Spirit within men, as I would claim. To reject this is a philosophical choice, not one supported by science.
Con has presented historical claims as evidence against the biblical creation model, with the exception maybe of Noah's Ark which is more a question of feasibility. Notice these claims cannot be supported or refuted directly via the scientific method, rather, concerning the axiom of the hypothesis in question, post hoc evidence is considered using the scientific method. Therefore it should be understood that the scientific method cannot directly refute any model of origins. At best, a model can be tentatively supported or called into serious question by observable evidence.
Con claims creationism is based on things like faith devoid of at least limited evidence, yet he arbitrarily limits evidence to that which is scientifically testable; this is his philosophical choice but it is impossible to support using the scientific method. I agree that biblical creationism, as I support, begins with faith, but this faith is grounded in real evidential truth. Our source for validity can be summed up in three words: God's Holy Spirit. God's Spirit reveals the veracity of His word to those who truly, humbly seek Him; indeed, this is His promise. This evidence, since it comes directly from God is more trustworthy even than science, especially considering the tentative nature of science. I concede that this unique form of evidence is only good for the one who receives this revelation from God, but it nonetheless remains the primary reason Christians stand by the word of God above all else and begin with it when making any inquiry into reality, be it scientific or otherwise.
Age of The Universe
Con claims the universe is about 14Gy old as a refutation of the biblical age based on the genealogical record of Adam to Christ and cites hubblesite.com's axiomatic "inference" as support. I agree that the universe is exponentially expanding as stellar and galactic redshift data is quite clear about this. However, this in no way conclusively supports the notion that the universe must have expanded (in hyperspace) from a singularity; God could've of course created the universe with considerable size and stretched it out from that point. Regardless, citing an axiom does not lend support to your claim for the age of the universe.
Con provides one other line of reasoning to support his claim concerning the vast distances of space starlight must travel to reach Earth. Again, I have no quarrel with the operational data of parallax trigonometry and redshifts which seem to indicate great distances between galaxies, but to simply state the observation without providing evidence as to why one's claim about the past should be accepted is fallacious. Yes light currently takes a long time to get here from distant stars, so it seems, but this alone, even in light of the observed expansion, does not tell us about the origin or age of the universe; many assumptions must be made in order to interpret the data as evidence for a particular model.
Consider the simple candle analogy: if a person walks into a room with a lit candle, can the person tell how long the candle has been burning? The person may be able to chemically test the elemental makeup of the candle and its wick and determine to a degree of certainty its rate of burn, but many unknown factors hinder the person from utilizing this information to work out a reliable length-of-burn time. Some of these questions include, was the candle put out and re-lit at any point? How long was the candle's wick to start off with? What was used to light the candle; a match; a blowtorch? And probably most importantly: How big was the candle at the time it was first lit?
The primary philosophical assumption which must be made in order to interpret current rates and size as evidence for a particular model is known as uniformitarianism. This concept assumes that current events, rates, and processes are adequate means of determining what took place in past events. Since the universe is expanding at a current rate today, it must have always expanded this way and thus it must have sprang into existence from a single point x amount of years ago, or so goes the uniformitarian assumption. Amazingly, in order to utilize this uniformitarian assumption to support the standard model of cosmogony, another, even more preposterous axiom must be accepted, namely, the cosmological principle. In short, this principle states that the universe is observed uniformly given any space-time location, i.e. we are not in any privileged place in the universe. Therefore, the expansion and redshift data should be the same no matter where you are in the universe.
Interestingly enough, the reason such an ad hoc axiom was proposed was that it was a "hand-waiving" way to get around the straightforward interpretation of redshift data, namely, that we seem to be in a very special and very central place in the universe. The observational value of the cosmological constant based on type 1a Supernovae data is off from the predicted theoretical value by 120 orders of magnitude. Theoretical physicist Leonard Susskind sums up what may very well be the worst theoretical prediction in the history of physics by saying, “Well, the best efforts of the best physicists, using our best theories, predict Einstein’s cosmological constant incorrectly by 120 orders of magnitude! That’s so bad that it’s funny” (https://books.google.com...). This predicted value was based upon the axiomatic cosmological principle. So not only is this an assumption, but it is one which leads to predictions which are observationally deviant by a value of 10^120 lol!
Age of The Earth
Radioisotope dating, or radiometric dating as it is also known, refers to the method by which secular scientists attempt to formulate an age for a given rock specimen based on the ratio of isotopes within the rock. Isotopes are basically radioactive forms of elements which naturally decay in an attempt to become more stable. These volatile atoms will, over time, decay to become different atoms with different numbers of protons and neutrons.
By measuring the current rate of decay, scientists can determine how long it would take for a given decay process to occur. By measuring the amount of parent (radioactive isotope) atoms and daughter (more stable element) atoms, an age can then be acquired by calculating how long it would have taken for the parent atoms to decay to the measured amount of daughter atoms. In order to interpret these isotopic ratios as measurements of age however, some important assumptions must be made.
The first assumption, namely, initial isotopic ratios, is entirely unknowable, to state the obvious. If one is not present to record data, one is left with pure speculation. Clearly it is impossible to know for sure what the initial ratio of isotopes were in any given rock sample. If, for example, a particular sample had any amount of daughter at its conception, assuming a zero amount for the sample would grossly inflate the age. No geologists were present when most rocks formed, so they cannot directly test their assumptions about these ratios.
As with the first assumption, the second assumption, assuming no contamination, is speculative at best. Both assumptions are model-dependent in that they require a model such as the accretion model of the Earth's formation from molten rock. If the biblical account be true, rocks could have been formed with daughter isotopes already in them; and the Flood could have provided a medium for plenty of isotopic exchange between rocks.
Indeed, decay rate constancy seems to be the most impervious to dissent. Yet, utilizing certain methods of dating other than radioisotopes, such as that of planetary magnetic field decay, scientists have revealed that the Earth could not be much older than 6,000 years. Thus, it is clear that decay rates are likely to have drastically varied in the past. One clear example is the presence of detectable amounts of helium in zircon crystals which have been dated to be 1.5 billion years old. It was found that, "up to 58% of the helium that the nuclear decay would produce was still in the zircons. This was surprising because helium diffuses (leaks) rapidly out of most minerals" (http://creation.com...). For the helium to be present in these zircons, radio-decay would have had to be over 100,000 times faster in the past.
Evolution. . .
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