Monday, February 8, 2016

17 Quotes from Norman Geisler On Evidence for Special Creation

"It will not suffice for the creationist simply to point to the lack of evidence for a secondary cause of life. From no evidence no scientific conclusion follow. Some positive evidence for creation must be presented before a positive conclusion can be drawn."

"It is true that special creation is not testable against any regularly recurring pattern of events in the present. But neither is macroevolution. Both views involve unobserved past singularities. That is, they involve rare occurrences. For example, so far as we can tell, life did not emerge from nonlife over and over. Nor were the great transitions between major forms of life repeated again and again. Hence there is no recurring patterns of events against which to test how the universe began, how life began, or how diverse life forms originated. So neither macroevolution nor creation comes within the discipline of operation science. This does not mean that there is no sense in which macroevolution and creation are scientific. Although they are not an empirical science, nevertheless they function like a forensic science. Just as a forensic scientist tries to make a plausible reconstruction of an unobserved (and unrepeatable) murder, so the evolutionist and creationist attempt to construct a plausible scenario of the unobserved past singularities of origin. So neither view is operation science. Rather both are in the domain of origin science."

Monday, February 1, 2016

Philosophy of Science, Circumstantial Evidence, and Creation

For those who have followed me for some time, you know that I take a strong stance on the importance of defending the Christian worldview in its specific claims about reality, as opposed to only defending general claims. For those who are not familiar with my reasons for this position, please see my posts here and here. One of the theological debates that I defend specifically is a particular view on creation. I take the old-earth creation (OEC) position that holds to the literal historicity of the records of Genesis 1-11. I came from a position of young-earth creationism (YEC) but changed due to the lack of scientific evidence supporting the view and the complete compatibility of OEC with Christianity. A couple years ago, a prominent YEC leader (Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis) debated Bill Nye on the scientific status on YECism. Ham constantly drew a distinction between "observational/operational science" and "historical science" to say that what happened in the past cannot be known. I wrote a post last year critiquing this philosophy of science and provided a followup clarification on my position (here and here, respectively).

Since then I have read and reviewed one of the foundational works on the philosophical distinction (Origin Science: A Proposal for the Creation/Evolution Controversy by Norman Geisler and J. Kirby Anderson). My previous posts dealt with the distinction as presented by Ken Ham (and many other YEC proponents); however, today I want to deal with the distinction as presented by Geisler and Anderson. There is a wide chasm between the two understandings, and if Ken Ham is getting the distinction from the work of Geisler and Kirby (or someone who agree with their distinctions), then he has misunderstood the distinctions. My goal is to explain the distinctions made by Geisler and Anderson and show how they have been misunderstood by Ken Ham and other YEC proponents. I will also show that the rejection of circumstantial evidence in Ham's understanding necessarily undermines the presuppositional grounding of knowledge of all events recorded in the Bible, which is what Ken Ham promotes in place of a circumstantial, evidential approach to discovering the mechanisms, timing, and purposes of creation.

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Difference Between An Attack and A Critique

"Someone's Wrong On The Internet!"
As I have defended the Christian faith against challenges on Facebook, I have come across several posts in various discussion groups that I feel need to be addressed. I have seen these posts in Christian groups that debate different theological positions and in general debate groups that discuss worldviews. I have also seen these from those who agree with me and disagree with me on various issues. So, please do not think that this is aimed only at those with whom I disagree; there are plenty who agree with me who have posted these also.

The Posts
Generally, the posts are targeted towards a specific "side" in the group. They are often written in the language of a "locker room pep talk" to the members of the team. Usually, the posts call out everyone who disagrees with them as attacking them through ridicule. These posts rarely differentiate between those who disagree with them regarding the general worldview and those who disagree in the details of the same general worldview. They encourage the teammates to "keep up the good fight" and offer some kind of existential or eternal "reward" for sticking to their belief. Some of the more rhetorical posts even go so far as to present an eternal threat to those who disagree.