Sunday, July 20, 2008

Rethinking Creationism: Is it possible our presuppostions do affect how we interpret the evidence?

Do not be alarmed by this question. This is NOT and argument for creationism, I am simply correcting a my mishandling of the AiG position that evolution is based on the philosophy of naturalism. I feel I have misunderstood their position and I have caused confusion among others such as AiGbusted And being that no creationist will defend himself I have put it on myself to respond to the criticism since I understand their true position, it still is somewhat flawed but it is not as nutty as they make it appear.

AiG creationist thinkers at least have adopted almost a form of Critical Realism in regards to the past. Nothing can be absolutely proven in relation to the distant past before human presence in the region. Therefore whatever theory you make about the past is not independent of your presuppositions. This is how I have basically explained it, and earlier I criticized it on the grounds that it was an attempt on the part of the creationists to avoid the obvious evidence for evolution. Either way their position appears to have been mishandled by several people such as AiGbusted. It has been interpreted as saying we cannot trust our own thoughts because thoughts. The misunderstanding probably stems from this quote form the AiG article, "Is nature the 67th book of the bible?":
"Many who trust in humans as the highest authority reject the Curse as true history and thus deny its effect on our observations. Some point to the effects of the Curse as proof of “bad design.” For Christians, however, it is foolish to ignore the Curse when considering what nature can “reveal” to us. After all, this would be like someone trusting a funhouse mirror to show them how they really looked. They look into the mirror and see a distorted view but assume that this mirror must be “right.”"
Now at first glance this does seem to say that we cannot trust our senses and this does seem to contradict what creationist have claimed about evolution being anti-science and anti-knowledge since it means our brain is just an assortment of chemicals which evolved over billions of years and can't be trusted. Is this a contradiction made by the author? No, creationists such as Ken Ham say that there is a distinction between what they call "operational" science and "historical" science. Operational science is everyday repeatable science which has been used to build technology and send humans to the moon. Historical Science on the other hand has to do with the distant past and origins which are affected by our presuppositions and is therefore not science in the same sense that operational science is. Furthermore in regards of repeatable, testable, and operational science the senses are very reliable and they believe that science requires "biblical presuppositions". loved and hated Creationist astrophysicist Dr. Jason Lisle explains:
"he biblical creationist expects there to be order in the universe because God made all things (John 1:3) and has imposed order on the universe. Since the Bible teaches that God upholds all things by His power (Hebrews 1:3), the creationist expects that the universe would function in a logical, orderly, law-like fashion. Furthermore, God is consistent and omnipresent. Thus, the creationist expects that all regions of the universe will obey the same laws, even in regions where the physical conditions are quite different. The entire field of astronomy requires this important biblical principle."
However they say science in relation to the distant past before the existence of humans or at least before written records and such cannot be proven and if any theory is not based of biblical presuppositions it is flawed because it does not take the bible (what they believe to be the foundation of science) into account. Also the fall is used to explain things like mutations, disease, and some instances of bad design so if you follow their logic nature gives a distorted portrayal of God and thus while it is useful (they believe that historical science can work if interpreted through biblical assumptions) it should not be put at the same level as the bible. That is all they are saying, they are not saying thoughts are unreliable.

If one is to respond to creationist claims he must do it with an accurate portrayal of creationist beliefs not a distorted view and that is the purpose of this article, it is not to endorse young earth creationism in any way. It is to correct flawed arguments in the same way AiGers have done already.


C. David Parsons said...



The following dissertation on Darwin is lifted from Volume 1 of The Quest for Right, a series of seven books on origins based on physical science, the old science of cause and effect.

On the outset, the reader should be aware that Darwin was a self-proclaimed agnostic; he did not deny the possibility that God exists but believed it was beyond one's mental ability to decide if there is, indeed, any divine force. Darwin, in response to an invitation to become a Patron of the Cat Show (September 18, 1872), lightheartedly referred to himself and cronies as "atheistical cats." By definition, an atheist either does not believe in, or denies the existence of God. Regardless of the profile, agnostics and atheists alike believe that all questions concerning origins, being, and the like may be explained fully by material phenomena and logic; scientists have since added a third dimension, the orderly application of mathematics, called electronic interpretation—read the matter in detail in Volume 1.

A cultural note: a marked distinction separates men who profess to be disciples (followers) of Christ and adherents of the Bible and those who profess to be outside Christianity (called unbelievers). Regarding the current definitions of agnostic and atheist, the text of the New Testament refutes the associated attributes, specifically the possibility that man (for whatever reason) either does not believe in the existence of God or else believes it is beyond one's mental ability to decide if there is a God. Countering the claim, the Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, penned, "For the invisible things of him [God] from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they [men who 'hold the truth in unrighteousness'] are without excuse" (Romans 1:20-22). The things God created are aptly referred to as “the glory of God.”

In deference to the biblical precept, the eternal power and Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) are clearly evidenced (seen and understood) by the things that God created and made. One only has to observe his or her surroundings; for instance, a wilderness setting with stately trees reaching skyward, colorful wildflowers dotting the meadows, wood ducks by a pool, and animals scurrying about in the underbrush, to realize the knowledge of the existence of God. There are, however, men who do "not like to retain God in their knowledge" (Romans 1:28), and cast down every thought of God. Regrettably, the course of action is not without due penalty: "Because when they knew God [everyone has known God at one time in his or her life], they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools" (Romans 1:21, 22).

In light of the foregoing scriptures, the current definitions of agnostic and atheist are wholly inept: men who hold the biblical precept to be patently false, professing either not to believe or know that there is an eternal power, are neither agnostic nor atheist, but willfully disobedient—willful, "done on purpose; deliberate." The comprehensive assessment will be fully justified; please read on.

Concurring with the biblical principle, Darwin may be charged with being willfully disobedient, as observed in his criticism of the tenets of Christianity. Of one certainty the reader may be assured, Darwin did not speak objectively when it came to Christianity—objectively, "uninfluenced by personal feelings, prejudices or agendas." In a bitter denial of Christianity, Darwin complained that he "could hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so, the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine." Why was Darwin so embittered? Read Revelation 20:11-15; 21:7, 8.

In order to access an online, audible Bible, and to read the biblical verses in context, go here:
You may wish to bookmark the site. RealPlayer is required to listen to the Audio Bible.

Darwin once confessed to being a theist, the belief in the existence of a god or gods, in particular the belief that God both created and rules all earthly phenomena. After the publication of the Origin, Darwin charged his original belief in God to the "constant inculcation" (instruction or indoctrination) in a belief in God" during his childhood, which was as difficult to cast down as "for a monkey to throw off its instinctive fear and hatred of a snake." With self-assurance, Darwin purposed in his heart that he would no longer retain God in his knowledge, resolving instead to become an "agnostic." The reader is, therefore, cautioned that, whenever reading books and articles about Darwin, most, if not all, biographical authors are predisposed to depict him in a favorable light, oftentimes allowing pro-evolutionist sentiment to prejudice their work.

The Old Testament did not escape Darwin's inflamed rhetoric; concerning the validity of biblical histories (in particular, the Genesis account of creation), Darwin pointedly declared that "the manifestly false history of the earth....was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos (sic), or the beliefs of any barbarian." Thus, Darwin likened the creation of the first man, Adam (Genesis 2:7-25), to a mere fairy tale. As an alternative to the counterfactual history, he summarily disposed of both creationism and God by declaring in the Origin that, once the reader entertains the "volumne (sic) on the origin of species...light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history," meaning that man and apes diverged from a common ancestor through the agency of evolution without the aid or influence of God—there is no God.

You will not want to miss the adventure of a lifetime which awaits you in Volume 1 of The Quest for Right.

The Quest for Right, a series of 7 textbooks created for the public schools, represents the ultimate marriage between an in-depth knowledge of biblical phenomena and natural and physical sciences. The several volumes have accomplished that which, heretofore, was deemed impossible: to level the playing field between those who desire a return to physical science in the classroom and those who embrace the theory of evolution. The Quest for Right turns the tide by providing an authoritative and enlightening scientific explanation of natural phenomena which will ultimately dethrone the unprofitable Darwinian view.

AIGBusted said...


What do you think "biblical presuppositions" means? They mean that they assume the bible is true above any and all. By their dictionary, you look up truth and it says, "See Bible."

If you look at my post and the AiG article I referenced:

You see, they state that no amount of evidence for an old earth would convince them (They would always assume the evidence was in some way flawed).

This means if they look at varves, ice rings, tree rings, radiometric dates, plate tectonics, the approximated age of the sun, Stars that are millions or billions of light years away from the earth, and so on...

They cannot even consider that the earth might be older than 10,000 years. In conclusion, They will not trust the evidence right in front of their faces.

Created Rationalist said...

True, your right AiGbusted, my point was that they don't think this means the can't trust there own thoughts, only that they can't trust their own thoughts apart from the bible. Their rationale for this is that evolution says the brain evolved randomly over millions of years therefore an evolutionist can't trust his own thoughts. This position is however flawed in many respects.