YEC, Christianity, Politics, and Education

In my opinion, and that of many others, Young Earth Creationism is the most theologically consistent position. Intelligent design is a perspective that includes YEC, but Creationism does not entail the Intelligent Design movement despite the arguments of many naturalistic evolutionists and theistic evolutionists.

So then there is the political element. I don’t really have a lot of interest in this element. I prefer to side-step the issue entirely. Let Caesar take the approach he wants with the public schools. What I advocate for as many people as have the means is home schooling. The public educational system is laced with political manipulation and propaganda. Probably less so out here in the sticks, but more so in the urban areas. But nonetheless, I like the model of home schooling, because it teaches people to be more independent learners. I tend to be a fairly radically independent thinker, or at least I like to think so, and this is the reason I prefer to function in a private practice setting as a psychologist. There are no organizational politics. I am the one who is responsible for the care of my patients…not an organization with organizational philosophies. But enough of politics and the personal stuff for the moment.

When you start with the assumption of an all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-present God, all you need is one possible explanation for natural phenomena no matter how improbable it may seem. I remain somewhat uncommitted on how things have actually happened in the history of the world, because humans interpret scripture and humans conduct science. Thus there is a fallibility aspect inherent in all domains of human endeavor. I have a great respect for the Young Earth Creationist position, although I have not completely committed to that position. I’m not sure I’ve yet committed to any of the positions completely, other than the existence of God and the theological basics of Christianity. I’m still learning. But I do have great respect for the YEC position above all others.

Specifically, death and suffering are, in my opinion, given the best explanation by YEC proponents. Although I agree with certain aspects of ID, I do not have as much respect for it as I do for the YEC position. I think the ID position is more easily supported, but I think the YEC position has a greater degree of honesty and theological consistency. There are also possible explanations that are provided by YEC proponents. And for the time being, they are at least, good enough for me.

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9 Responses

  1. This is a great post! It’s almost as if you were writing what’s on my mind and heart. I too am leaning more towards YEC, and yet ID seems to explain, in greater detail, the questions I have had for years.

    When you start with the assumption of an all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-present God, all you need is one possible explanation for natural phenomena no matter how improbable it may seem. I remain somewhat uncommitted on how things have actually happened in the history of the world, because humans interpret scripture and humans conduct science. Thus there is a fallibility aspect inherent in all domains of human endeavor.

    This is why I refuse to commit totally to any set view, because if I do then I’m relying on man and his fallibility! I’ll wait, and perhaps even longer than I live, for God to give me this full revelation. Could it be that we’re not supposed to know everything?

  2. […] YEC, Christianity, Politics, and Education | Intelligent Design and More. […]

  3. It’s been argued that intelligent design only works if one begins by assuming the existence of God with certain properties (e.g. wisdom, goodness, power), and that without this assumption in place, ID cannot yield any testable consequences. If there’s interest I can spell out this argument further.

  4. Please do Carl. In some ways, I think I might be able to agree with this perspective.

  5. DB wrote:

    It’s almost as if you were writing what’s on my mind and heart. I too am leaning more towards YEC, and yet ID seems to explain, in greater detail, the questions I have had for years.

    I agree DB. I am reserving judgment, although acknowledging the courage and consistency of the YEC position.

  6. Please do Carl. In some ways, I think I might be able to agree with this perspective.

    Here’s a way of bringing the problem into focus: given some property of an organism, how are we supposed to tell if it is the result of design or not?

    In the case of design-recognition among artifacts, we are assisted because we know many things about what human beings need, want, and do. There’s a huge background of beliefs which assist us in determining whether something is designed by a human being or not, and if it is designed, what it is designed for. So even when we discover an artifact from a previously unknown culture, there’s a huge amount of information already in place.

    The question is, can we identify something as designed without any background information about the designer?

    Take Stephen Jay Gould’s rejection of the argument from design. He wrote that the panda’s “thumb” is such obviously bad engineering that it couldn’t possibly be designed. But how could he know that? Clearly he could say that only if he already knew something about what the designer would and wouldn’t do — that is, if he had antecedent information about the intentions, purposes, values, capacities (etc) of the designer.

    But just for the same reason, any attribution of design — good or bad — depends on antecedent knowledge about the intentions, purposes, values, capacities (etc) of the designer. We do have that in archeology, and in SETI research we have no choice but to assume that extraterrestrial intelligent beings (if there are any) are sufficiently like us that we could distinguish their patterns from noise based on our criteria.

    So: if intelligent design tries to get by without making any assumptions about the nature of the designer — which is the ‘party line’ — that it’s scuppered from the outset, because no ‘design inferences’ without assumptions about the nature of the designer can go through. On the other hand, if intelligent design assumes that the designer is God (or a god of some sort), then the design inference can succeed.

    In short: intelligent design theory is incoherent if it does not assume theism, and it cannot be used in order to argue for theism.

  7. Carl wrote:

    In the case of design-recognition among artifacts, we are assisted because we know many things about what human beings need, want, and do.

    I agree to some extent. But do you not think you could recognize the design of an artifact without knowing its purpose? Believe it or not, this has actually happened with me as a child. I used to hunt for Native American artifacts out in the fields near where I grew up. There were times when I found things that I was certain were designed before I knew what their function was. Even with fragments, when I was never able to identify any purpose, but I was certain of they had been designed.

    Take Stephen Jay Gould’s rejection of the argument from design. He wrote that the panda’s “thumb” is such obviously bad engineering that it couldn’t possibly be designed. But how could he know that? Clearly he could say that only if he already knew something about what the designer would and wouldn’t do — that is, if he had antecedent information about the intentions, purposes, values, capacities (etc) of the designer.

    Agreed. And AIG addresses Gould and his thoughts about the panda’s thumb. (1)

    But just for the same reason, any attribution of design — good or bad — depends on antecedent knowledge about the intentions, purposes, values, capacities (etc) of the designer. We do have that in archeology, and in SETI research we have no choice but to assume that extraterrestrial intelligent beings (if there are any) are sufficiently like us that we could distinguish their patterns from noise based on our criteria.

    Is not intelligence an assumption of antecedent knowledge in and of itself? In other words, the things that an intelligence designs would be antecedent knowledge in my opinion.

    In short: intelligent design theory is incoherent if it does not assume theism, and it cannot be used in order to argue for theism.

    It’s not that I don’t understand how you arrived at this conclusion. I do. It’s just that I disagree, because I think intelligence per se represents antecedent knowledge.

    But while I disagree, I do appreciate you laying out the argument, and found it to be interesting.

    (1). http://www.answersingenesis.org/tj/v13/i1/panda.asp

  8. Actually, I agree that even the supposition that the designer was intelligent counts as antecedent knowledge — one cannot distinguish between designed things and non-designed things without the assumption that the designer was an intelligent being of some sort. So even that claim is not something that is inferred from the evidence at hand, but an assumption that we bring with us to our assessment of the evidence.

    I think that if one confronts some object, and you have to decide whether it was made by ‘natural’ forces or by an intelligent being, you really have no choice but to rely on what you already know about the sorts of intelligent beings with which you are already familiar.

    Several years ago I was part of a field school in paleoanthropology based in northern Kenya. One of the things we were taught was how to distinguish between flakes (flint or quartz) produced through erosion and avalanches from flakes produced by hominids. It turns out that in order to produce a flake of the sort that would be useful to a hominid — for stripping meat from skin or bone, or for digging up roots — the rock must be struck in a very precise way, and that can be distinguished from flakes produced from rocks randomly hitting one another. But notice! We rely on a huge background of beliefs, such as beliefs about how physically strong the hominids were, beliefs about what they ate, beliefs about how they acquired their food, beliefs that they were at least as intelligent as modern chimpanzees, etc. in order to even distinguish the hominid-produced flakes from the non-hominid-produced flakes.

    So even though we don’t know exactly what the extinct hominids used these flakes for, we have to rely on background beliefs about them in order to reliably distinguish between things that were designed and things that weren’t.

    As we move forward in time, we do find artifacts of greater sophistication and complexity. By the time we get to the Acheulean hand-axe technology associated with Homo erectus, there’s no chance of anyone ever confusing it with a result of natural forces.

  9. Carl wrote:

    But notice! We rely on a huge background of beliefs, such as beliefs about how physically strong the hominids were, beliefs about what they ate, beliefs about how they acquired their food, beliefs that they were at least as intelligent as modern chimpanzees, etc. in order to even distinguish the hominid-produced flakes from the non-hominid-produced flakes.

    Yes, I agree that there are a lot of assumptions and beliefs that you were taught in order to identify design in that case. One is a multi-layered progression hypothesis (physical, cultural, and intellectual features).

    As we move forward in time, we do find artifacts of greater sophistication and complexity. By the time we get to the Acheulean hand-axe technology associated with Homo erectus, there’s no chance of anyone ever confusing it with a result of natural forces.

    The “moving forward in time” is an assumption/belief, as is erectus; however, I fully agree that once you reach a certain level of functional and specific complexity design “jumps out at you” so to speak. For me, it rises to the level of metaphysics. I know you don’t like metaphysics, but every time I see a Toyota car, I consider it an “absolute truth” that it was designed.

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