Monday, November 23, 2009

How NOT To Argue: A Return To The Old Earth/Young Earth Debate

For those who may doubt the comments I made (here) about the way some Young Earth (YE) proponents demand their view as a test of orthodoxy, I offer you this example.

Interestingly, I was not even debating the Young Earth/Old Earth (OE) issue with this individual. I had only stated that the OE view was not some kind of capitulation to Evolution. I went on to explain what I meant by that statement. Here's what I said:
The problems with Evolution include (but are not limited to):

1. Inability to explain abiogenesis
2. Inability to explain diversity of species
3. Inability to explain consciousness
4. Inability to explain ethics
5. Inability to explain the Cambrian Explosion
6. Non-falsifiability
7. Used to explain everything we observe and therefore capable of explaining nothing
8. Inability to make predictions

I could go on but the point is this ... NONE of these issues go away if you just give Evolution more time. In fact, none of these issues go away if you give Evolution INFINITE time.

Therefore, the connection you demand between an old earth and evolution is invalid.
Notice that my only point was to show that Evolution cannot avoid its serious deficiencies by using a temporal escape clause. That is, the OE view, whether you accept it or not, does absolutely nothing to support the case for Evolution. That was the gist of the entire discussion. I deliberately refrained from even commenting on the YE view.

Anyway, that was what I said. And here (cut and pasted and not altered in any way) is the thoughtful reply I received to my comment ...
Bob, old earth is a pagan belief. You do not believe in the bible. I hope one day the Lord saves your soul. I pray for this day to come soon. Maybe there will be a day in which you will listen to the Word of God as opposed to humanity's humanist scientists. But that day can only come if you are to repent of your sins and believe in Christ. Christ died on the cross for the sins of His people. Through faith alone in Him alone can we be saved. I pray that God touches you in this way.
This is not to say that all YE folks are like this. That is definitely not the case. And, to be fair, there are some OE types who  are just as dismissive and arrogant about it in the other direction. I just point this out to say that, when we're talking about apparent discrepancies between science and Scripture on the topics that they mutually address, citing dogma on one side or the other is not helpful.

Instead of judging the motives and salvation of the other side -- a practice which leads to inane comments like the one above -- how about let's have an intelligent discussion about the evidence and let the facts speak for themselves. If we really believe that God speaks to us through two books, Scripture and Nature, the information we are getting is all true and should not be contradictory. If it is, the onus is on us to see which book (if not both) we are interpreting incorrectly. God's books do not have errors in them.

That kind of an approach would be much more productive.


  1. Good for you!

    The whole purpose of discussion, debate and argumentation (in the classic sense) is to sharpen iron with iron--to arrive at a better understanding of things-- to come to the TRUTH.

    Those who dismiss others simply because they are in disagreement are both foolishness and acting inconsistently with the character of Christianity.

    Christianity proceeds by explaining and exegeting, exhorting and working through scripture. There are some fundamental (mere) Christian ideas that are FUNDAMENTAL to Christian faith, but the age of the earth is not one of them.

    Good for you! Keep up the good work.

    John Snyder
    Host of In the Public Square

  2. Thanks John. I appreciate the comments and the work I see you do on line and on the air. I think we got connected through the mutual friendship (on FB) with Greg Koukl. In fact, this conversation came up on a comment thread under one of your status updates. :-)

    Cheers ...


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