Tuesday, May 12, 2020

The age of the earth

Here is some discussion on Christianity and the age of the earth. But there are those who think that the Bible requires you to believe that the earth is only about 6000 years old. What that means is that light from stars more than 6000 light years away must have been created by God in mid-flight. 
This is a defense of the young earth position.

33 comments:

bmiller said...

No doubt since we are all suffering under illusions and we are doing science under illusions, then we are deluded when we use science to reach conclusions about the age of the earth. Right?

StardustyPsyche said...

Op
Oh look, so many of the crackpot lies creationist con men tell, all in one collection, how convenient.

Starhopper said...

Victor,

This has got to be the stupidest thing you've ever linked to. Why did you think this was worth posting?

StardustyPsyche said...

Starhopper
"Why did you think this was worth posting?"
Well, maybe the stupidity of the link was his point? He mentioned in the OP the correct statement that things such as starlight would have had to have been created in mid flight just 6000 years ago in just the right way so as to appear as if it came from stars and galaxies millions or billions of light years away.

Maybe Victor was providing evidence that those who propose such bizarre notions are the sort who also dredge up the most idiotic pseudo science since the last time you saw the POTUS shaking hands with ET at the grocery checkout.


This is typical, taking a process that varies greatly over time and making some intentionally naive calculation to supposedly show some impossible implication. Of course, the Earth's magnetic field moves, varies in strength, and reverses from time to time, so a linear projection based on short term data is idiotic.

Maybe that was Victor's point, that these YECs are idiots?

#17: Rapid Decay Rate of Earth’s Magnetic Field

Scientists have been measuring the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field with precision since 1835. The magnetic field is decaying at an exponential rate with a half-life of roughly 1,100 years.47 By implication, when we follow the exponential function back in history, doubling the Earth’s magnetic field intensity every 1,100 years, we reach a point 30,000 years ago when the Earth’s magnetic field strength would have been comparable to that of a neutron star,48 creating immense heat that would have prohibited life from existing and possibly even compromised the internal structure of the Earth. The Earth cannot be millions of years old.

Victor Reppert said...

The YEC viewpoint is out there. But some people actually don't realize that there are Christians who don't buy it.

Hal said...

Victor,

But some people actually don't realize that there are Christians who don't buy it.

From my years of experience visiting various atheistic discussion boards, many of the people posting were raised by YEC's. Perhaps that is why they have trouble realizing that other Christians don't buy it.

StardustyPsyche said...

Victor, Hal,
I'm not sure how many people don't realize that many Christians don't accept YEC. I think pretty much everybody who has an interest in apologetics from either side of the coin realizes that.

However, departure from YEC is, historically, a fairly recent change. The Jewish calendar pretty much agrees with the Ussher estimate. the whole of Christianity has been YEC for most of its existence, and much of it still is.

Even as recently as the 2016 Republican debates there were several candidates who openly stated they do not believe in evolution, which tends to correlate strongly with YEC.

If there is a misimpression that Christians believe in YEC it might be partly due to the Evangelicals, since they tend to take the bible most literally and they also, well, evangelize, against evolution and an old universe, whereas the large Catholic and protestant churches that have moved on to accepting the scientific estimates of the age of the Earth just don't seem to do all that much community outreach on that subject.

Hal said...

Stardusty,

If there is a misimpression that Christians believe in YEC it might be partly due to the Evangelicals, since they tend to take the bible most literally and they also, well, evangelize, against evolution and an old universe, whereas the large Catholic and protestant churches that have moved on to accepting the scientific estimates of the age of the Earth just don't seem to do all that much community outreach on that subject.

Pretty much agree with this. The Evangelical branch of Christianity has devoted itself to obtaining a lot of political power in America. And that has affected the lives of those who don't share the same beliefs and moral views as those Evangelicals.

I think that was the main reason for the rise of the New Atheists. And because they were attacking such a crude form of Christianity, they often ended up using arguments that appeared quite crude to other atheists and theists.

Starhopper said...

"Even as recently as the 2016 Republican debates there were several candidates who openly stated they do not believe in evolution, which tends to correlate strongly with YEC."

Not necessarily so. I myself have serious doubts about, not evolution per se, but about the popular conception of it, and I simultaneously have no patience for YEC, which I regard as the epitome of stupidity.

Hal said...

Starhopper,

I think you are being too generous to those politicians. I doubt they even realize that there could be a difference between some popular conceptions of evolution and the scientific theory.

Starhopper said...

Watching the coronavirus evolve right under our eyes ought to convince even the most wooden-headed science denier of the validity of evolution.

But yes I know, there's no hope for the Basket of Deplorables.

bmiller said...

St. Augustine, was one of the most influential Christian theologians of all time, was not a YEC, and argued against interpreting scripture in isolation from scientific knowledge.

I agree with Starhopper, that the present scientific understanding of the age of the earth is solid and does not contradict scripture and neither does evolution per se.

But *evolution* tends to be ill-defined during internet debates.

StardustyPsyche said...

"But *evolution* tends to be ill-defined during internet debates"
By its deniers, yes, who are a most ignorant lot.

bmiller said...

Both sides have an abundance of ignorance.

Hal said...

bmiller,

I agree with Starhopper, that the present scientific understanding of the age of the earth is solid and does not contradict scripture and neither does evolution per se.

That is rather peculiar. Why wouldn't you say "neither does the present scientific understanding of evolution"?

Starhopper said...

Why wouldn't you say "neither does the present scientific understanding of evolution"?

The problem with "the present scientific understanding of evolution" is that it changes about as often as does the weather. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but it does make one reticent about commenting on what it does and does not contradict.

Hal said...

Starhopper,

There are some difference in science regarding the mechanisms of evolution. But the basic concept that living things do change and evolve into other living things seems pretty unchanged since the theory was first proposed.

I don't understand what you mean by contradicting something. Can you provide some examples?

Starhopper said...

"Can you provide some examples?"

Evolutionary concepts such as "blind chance", "purposeless" or "unguided" contradict the Catholic Faith. That does not, in and of itself, mean that they are "wrong" - it just means that they are incompatible with the Faith.

But evolution without all the pseudo-philosophical baggage poses no contradiction.

Hal said...

Starhopper,

Do they use those terms in scientific journals and publications? Sounds like you are referring to the pop science stuff.

I'm talking about the actual scientific proposals to explain the mechanism of evolution.

Starhopper said...

Hal,

I agree with you. I have no quarrel with the science of evolution. I have tremendous quarrel with the popular, pseudo-philosophical interpretations of the concept. Just as I am an ENEMY of Social Darwinism, the misbegotten offspring of Darwin's purely scientific musings.

bmiller said...

Hal,

There are some difference in science regarding the mechanisms of evolution. But the basic concept that living things do change and evolve into other living things seems pretty unchanged since the theory was first proposed.

I do think there is a disproportionate amount of over-reaction when certain aspects of evolutionary theory are challenged as opposed to other theories don't you?

I'm not talking about "So your father was an ape? Mine wasn't!" type of challenges, but more on the type that challenges the speed or slowness of evolutionary change.

One Brow said...

Starhopper said...
Evolutionary concepts such as "blind chance", "purposeless" or "unguided" contradict the Catholic Faith. That does not, in and of itself, mean that they are "wrong" - it just means that they are incompatible with the Faith.

The Catholic Faith requires that all mutations be guided by God? It's been a few decades, but I certainly don't remember that one.

Just as I am an ENEMY of Social Darwinism, the misbegotten offspring of Darwin's purely scientific musings.

Most of the 'social darwinist' positions I have read are opposed to the greatest teaching in evolution: their is strength in diversity, and organisms with a narrow gene range tend to be more vulnerable to going extinct.

Starhopper said...

"The Catholic Faith requires that all mutations be guided by God?"

Not ALL specific mutations, but the process as a whole. Evolution was/is guided and purposeful, and not accidental or governed (as a whole) by chance. Individual mutations can (and often are) purposeless, accidental, and unguided.

One of my off line obsessions is Backgammon. Individual rolls of the dice are totally random, yet the game itself is directed (by the players), guided (by the rules of the game), and purposeful (to win the game).

I know, it's an imperfect analogy, but the best I could come with at short notice. (Besides, I just lost a bitterly fought round against, of all opponents, a danged computer!)

One Brow said...

Starhopper,
"The Catholic Faith requires that all mutations be guided by God?"

Not ALL specific mutations, but the process as a whole. Evolution was/is guided and purposeful, and not accidental or governed (as a whole) by chance. Individual mutations can (and often are) purposeless, accidental, and unguided.


I believe the strongest position evolutionary theory would/could have on that is that there is no need for such guidance to explain the history of life, nor evidence thereof.

Starhopper said...

"I believe the strongest position evolutionary theory would/could have on that is that there is no need for such guidance to explain the history of life, nor evidence thereof."

And you would be 100% correct in saying that. It's been said 1000 times on on this forum, and one million times elsewhere: You will never find "evidence" for divine action in the physical world, in the sense that such an explanation is required. Laplace was absolutely right when he said "I have no need for that hypothesis" (i.e., God, in explaining the motions of the planets).

God is NOT one being amongst many in the universe - He is not OF the universe.

But His hand is nevertheless perceivable to all who have eyes to see. (Romans 1:20) You will never find "evidence" for the existence of Van Gogh in any painting, but you can see (and admire) his handiwork in every brush stroke.

bmiller said...

Why backgammon?

Not the analogy, but why backgammon?

Starhopper said...

I got hooked on backgammon way back in 1980, after I was introduced to the game by a co-worker at NSA. We'd play it at lunchtime. I like the game because, unlike chess (where the more skillful player will win 100% of the time), the role of the dice in backgammon (i.e., chance) means that any player can win or lose any single game (no matter how good or bad you are). But in the aggregate, the more skillful player will eventually come out on top.

There's no such thing as "beginner's luck" in chess or checkers. But even after 40 years (!) of playing backgammon, I can still get beat by someone I've just explained the rules to and who's just played his very first game. Doesn't happen often, but it can.

Hal said...

Starhopper,

I knew this gunney sgt in the marines who was really into backgammon. He even constructed a coardboard dice rolling tower to ensure that the rest of us jarheads couldn't cheat.:-)

Starhopper said...

Were you a Marine, Hal?

Hal said...

Yeah. Old enough to be a Vietnam-era vet. I was just a pencil pusher analyzing aircraft maintenance date.

bmiller said...

Backgammon seems like a good game for marines. Easily packed up and moved. The pieces are simple so if you lose one you can just use spent shells.

Starhopper said...

Well, Hal, my respect for you has just gone way up.

US Army, myself. Also a Vietnam era vet, but being fluent in Russian, I was sent over to West Germany to monitor the Soviets over in their half of the country.

Hal said...

Starhopper,

Thanks for the kind comment, but I don't think I'm owed any special respect. My draft number was 3 so I knew one way or another I was going to have to go into the military. Joining the Marines was one way of avoiding going to Vietnam as a grunt because I was able to choose my MOS when I enlisted.

The one deserving of respect in my family is my son who flew combat missions in Iraq as an Apache pilot.

By the way, didn't Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley also do their Army service in West Germany?