Premise: I accept evolution as a well-established scientific theory and I find no problem reconciling it with my Catholic faith.
I’ve read many arguments given by Young Earth Creationists against evolution - for example, the nearly total lack of scientific evidence for abiogenesis, the irreducible complexity of the cell, the structure of a bacterium and the eye - and for a young Earth - for example, the decay of Earth’s magnetic field and the salinity of the seas. However, I’ve seen that nearly all of them have been answered.
What I’m asking is: did any Young Earth Creationist ever try to answer the objections leveled against their arguments? Or to give more convincing ones?
Premise: I accept evolution as a well-established scientific theory and I find no problem reconciling it with my Catholic faith.
The best argument sidesteps all of that.
When God created Adam, did he create him as an embryo or did he create him as a fully formed, several decade old adult? Most of us picture Him creating Adam as an adult. Great, so God can create things in media res.
So when God created the universe did He do so as an exploding singularity or as a 15 billion year old entity?
Note: I’m not saying that happened. I’m saying that if it did it would be impossible for us to know. Looking for evidence of YEC is impossible because at least some versions of YEC would not leave evidence.
Since we are still at the beginning of this thread, could you first define what you mean by “evolution”? It is just a good idea to define our terms first.
I am not a Young Earth Creationist, and I am not familiar with all the arguments that have been written to support or defend this hypothesis. So, I don’t think I can help you very much with that question. However, as an independent thinker I find the YEC idea interesting, which is why I thought I’d follow this thread.
As a Catholic myself I tend to lean in favor of the idea that Adam was especially created as an adult, regardless of what views I might have on how creatures other than humans, were created. According to my personal belief, Adam was never born, but was created with a belly button. (That is not in the Bible; it is just my opinion.)
Although I believe that some form of evolution took place, I also believe it was not haphazard (or due to random causes), but was directed by God. On the other hand, I do not discount the fact that God in His Power could have made the world as it is. That means, for example, that large trees could have been created with annual rings in their trunk, as if they’ve been on earth for years and years. Likewise, the world could have been created in an instant, but with vestiges that betray their billions of years of previous existence. From a scientific standpoint, I don’t think this can be proved nor be disproved. And, short of scientific evidence, I agree that this idea would not be classed as “scientific.” But from a philosophy standpoint (remember, this is a philosophy forum), I cannot see that being impossible.
I should point out that these are not actually arguments against evolution. Even if it was impossible for life to arise via naturalistic means, the emergence of life is what precedes evolution, and thus this is a different thing entirely. One could use these as arguments against naturalism, but not evolution.
Even the Genesis account of chapter 1 presents the “progressive creation” approach and not the ‘in media res’ possibility, no?
In any case, the “Adam created as an adult” seems to presume that the Genesis account is literal and historical; the Church doesn’t require that interpretation.
And, even if it were true, there’s still the problem of discerning why God placed artifacts in creation that deceitfully give the impression of a non-YEC universe!
Except that would seem to run counter to God’s nature. He doesn’t lie to us. I would call that an “impossible” conjecture!
I was raised Evangelical Protestant and was a creationist through my teens. As a young adult Catholic, I eventually (and honestly, painfully) accepted that modern science is not a massive conspiracy theory. It now strikes me that much can be made of the fact that Genesis depicts God “forming” Adam from the earth. The narrative does NOT present God “poofing” Adam into existence…but rather forming him from pre-existing matter. This is huge to me. …and I have to ask…why is it that YECers are so offended by the notion that Adam’s parents may have been non-ensouled hominids, but are totally fine with the idea that Adam was formed from stinking, base MUD?
I’m a dad now. Imagine this conversation:
“Don’t worry son, scientists are wrong…our ancestors were never intelligent, noble apes…no, my boy, we come from dirty, stinking, slimy mud! Doesn’t that warm your heart?”
Often I’ve heard YECers say “My ancestor sure wasn’t a monkey!” with a tone of dismay and disgust…yet they will proudly and loudly agree “I was made from mud”. Its odd.
The responses to some of the arguments for a young earth may be objections, but they weren’t “answered” in terms of refuting them. Since “evolution” is such a slippery term, what many people believe is “evolution” is simply adaptation in an environment by an animal, from the result of the animal already possession the necessary genetics to “adapt.” But this isn’t evolution, which would require the cell at “add” information, which is not found in the scientific world. The cell can, and does, lose information, but that results in the organism “devolving” and getting worse (like fruit flies losing the ability to fly or even losing their wings altogether).
But before I learned about the scientific evidence that supports a young earth, the pages of Scripture itself support not only a young human civilization, but also a young earth, beginning with the pages of Genesis. Evolution involves death, and since death did not exist before Adam & the Fall, then you must have death AFTER the Fall. And when you add the genealogies from Adam to Jesus, you end up with a young earth.
I have no idea what age Adam was created at. What I was trying to point out that we have no problem envisioning God’s creation being in media res.. We already think in those terms for some things. And if it is in media res there’s every possibility for those artifacts you mentioned.
I don’t think that the scientific data is so precise that can proof that there is no God’s intervention in evolution. I think that is the argument who YEC should use.
That’s not much of an argument. It’s just as impossible to prove that the universe wasn’t created 5 minutes ago, as it is to prove that it wasn’t created 6000 years ago, or 13.8 billion years ago.
People can find a way to justify whatever their beliefs require them to justify. So evidence is only relevant in-so-far as it can be reconciled with one’s own personal preconceptions. Which is why even evidence and reason are fairly ineffective tools in any philosophical/metaphysical/religious argument.
If the intent was to deceive, then yes, it would be contrary to God’s nature. However, I invite you to consider this thought experiment. If today God were to create a mature lion out of nothing, don’t you think that the lion will be created with instincts that are already experienced for hunting, with teeth and claws already fashioned to devour its prey, with chromosomes that seemed like it came from male and female parents, etc.? In other words, if you did not know that God just created that lion, then you would see the mature lion as if it had been on earth for a while, and you would have no clue that it was just created. For just the same reason, I thought that if Adam had not been born, but was created already an adult, then I think that he also would be created with a belly button. Was it God’s intention to deceive us into thinking that Adam had a birth history? No, it was just part of the artwork. The same is true of the universe. If the universe was created only thousands of years ago, rather than began its existence billions of years ago, then we would still see the universe as if it had remnants of its apparent past existence. It was not God’s intent to deceive us; it was just part of His design.
If an artist were to portray a contemporary city on canvas, he might show tall buildings illuminated by electric lights, with modern cars on the streets, and airplanes in the sky. On the other hand, if he were to portray a medieval town, he would show simple stone houses, with candle lights at night, with horses in the barns rather than cars in garages. In either case there is no intent to deceive the viewers about time. The intent was to create a setting for the painting. Should it be a modern setting or a medieval setting? God is an Artist, and the world is His handiwork. In creating the world, He also chose a particular setting for Adam and Eve, and that setting was the world pretty much as we still see it today – a world with an apparent billion years past.
Please note that I am not defending the Young Earth Creation idea as a fact, for I am not a Young Earth Creationist. I am just saying that I am not yet ready to dismiss it as an impossible conjecture.
Apples and oranges, though. The universe wouldn’t have these elements as part of its design if it didn’t exist for billions of years. It’s a singleton – there aren’t others out there, such that they’re created as baby universes and become adult universes. Creatures – like humans and lions – aren’t singletons, and they do have these growth patterns. So, creating a universe that has attributes that are ‘fake’ really is a different situation!
I get it. I just disagree: creating a lion ex nihilo to look like a naturally-birthed lion is a different context than creating a (singleton) universe to appear as if it came into being in a different manner.
God created Adam as a grown man. What God did not do was crate Adam with a body of false evidence to make it look as if he had been born as a baby and experienced twenty years or so of growing up.
God created the Universe and the Earth. But God did not then create a body of false evidence to make it look like the Universe was billions of years old. If such evidence exists it’s real. God did not falsify it.
I’m basically a young earth creationist. No I’ve not spent any time trying to answer the prevailing scientific explanations nor have I ever really ever spent any time coming up with a counterpoint.
I like the creation story, and choose to believe it as true. It reconciles perfectly with my faith and the Church has no problem with it.
As such you’re no different than a Muslim, or a Hindi, or any other faith. You believe what you’re predisposed to believe, and you seldom stop to question it. But even if you do, you’ll find some means to justify those beliefs, even if all the justification that you have is blind faith. You’ll cling to those things, however questionable, that support your beliefs, and reject those things, however formidable, that don’t.
You are…in a sense…blind.
Are you sure? I mean, I doubt Adam had the scar of a fall off his bike when he was 12 (despite never being 12), but he could easily have had a navel. He could have easily had coronal sutures from when his skull plates stitched in infancy. He definitely would have had a musculature that pointed to some level of physical activity or another. Even an unblemished body shows the signs of certain life events that everyone experiences. Why would you assume God would not create those?
Note: I’m not saying He did any of that, or that Adam’s creation is meant to be taken literally. I’m saying that that you can’t discount the possibility.
Adam might have had a navel or he might not. Speculation isn’t evidence. Even if he did, so what?
You assume his skull plates ‘stitched’. Why should they if he was already adult?
He would have had full musculature development, for the same reason he had four fingers and a thumb on each hand. God created him as a healthy adult.
If Adam did not experience certain life events because he was already adult when his life began, then why would God add deceptive evidence of such life events?
God could have created Adam with any musculature. He could have given him the body of someone who lifted weights for years. He could have given him the musculature of someone who hadn’t lifted his arms a day in his life. Every musculature would say something about his history, despite the fact that he didn’t have a history.
And I’m not offering evidence for YEC. I’m offering the impossibility of evidence for it. You can’t gather evidence for a theory without a distinct form. YEC is too hazy; that’s why I find it largely irrelevant.
You realize that this characterization holds for agnostics and atheists, too, right? And, if you say “no it doesn’t – we’re rational and ya’ll are sheeple”, then really all you’re doing is engaging in marginalization, not engagement and discussion.
In case you’ve forgotten, I’m an epistemological solipsist, which means that I’m skeptical of pretty much every claim for which an alternate explanation is possible.
It’s possible that there’s a God, and it’s possible that there isn’t. It’s possible that reality exists only in my mind, and it’s possible that it doesn’t. You’re free to believe whatever you want to believe, but you should always remember, that at the end of the day, your beliefs are simply an act of faith justified by some semblance of reason, and they always will be. Reason alone will never get you beyond cogito ergo sum. Evidence will never prove the existence of God. And any argument to the contrary will always remain a matter of faith.
All that anyone can ever be certain of…is that I am.