Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Miscellaneous errors and strawmen of YEC

Osborn in his continued attack on creationism have decided to light a bonfire of various errors and strawmen. It is really regrettable that, for someone who is writing against "literalism" and YEC, he does not even get the facts he's critiquing right. I would like to address in brief some of the errors and strawmen Osborn is bringing up and burning:


#1 Error: The land animals were created after Adam according to the plain reading of the Genesis 2 account, in Genesis 2:18-19 (p. 53)
Response: The verb for "made" there is in the Qal waw-consecutive imperfect, which CAN have a pluperfective meaning, so Osborn's reading is by no means the "plain interpretation" of the text. The same goes with the aorist tense in the LXX.

#2 Strawman: The entire world outside the Garden is already a verdent, nonthreatening oasis, according to YEC. (p. 53)
Response: False. The world outside the garden was indeed non-threatening, but still wild and disordered.

#3 Strawman: YEC, if they are to hold to 6-24 in light of the theory of relativity, must hold to a position that essentially says that creation occurs in 6-24 days as measured by "a clock located at a fixed spot on the surface of the earth, GMT- Garden Mean Time." (p. 55)
Response: Perhaps some versions of YEC might say that, but no. YEC does not care about the exact length of the day except that it is a normal earth day. It can be 25 hours or 36 hours, or 18 hours.

#4 Strawman: There is not enough time for Adam to do everything stated in 24 hours in Day 6
Response: This has been asked and answered to death already. I will just link to the answer here.

#5 Strawman: Creationists must be "forced" to harmonize the Genesis accounts, for "the task of producing absolute scientific and chronological harmony—no matter what the text say." (p. 56)
Response: Isn't that the question? What does the text actually say? Mocking an interpretation is not an argument against that exegesis of the text. How does Osborn know a priori that the YEC interpretation MUST be wrong?

#6 Strawman: "All the preflood geographical markers mentioned in Genesis 1-10 (the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, the land of Cush, the land of Nod)" were left in place even after the Flood. (p. 57)
Response: False. There is no geographical area that fits the description of the Garden of Eden today on the earth. Where in this world is there a main river which splits into four rivers, of which two are the Tigris and the Euphrates? Where furthermore is there a place whereby a river called the Gihon that splits off from the Tigris and Euphrates and flow around the land of Cush (in the African continent) (Gen. 2:13), without being intercepted by the Mediterranean or the Red Sea? There is none. So the geographical features of the Garden of Eden do not exist anymore on earth, and thus were not "left in place."

#7 Error: All the YEC harmonizations are special pleading. (p. 57)
Response: That is not an argument. Upon what basis is it called "special pleading"? We are supposed to discuss what the text teaches, not what Osborn thinks is acceptable to his reason or not.

#8 Error: Evolutionary ideas can, in principle, be falsified. (p. 69)
Response: Specific theories can be falsified, but the grand theory itself is unfalsifiable. As the debate between Gradualism and Punctuated Equilibrium has shown, both the presence and absence of transition fossils prove evolution.

#9 Error: One "does not need any particular qualifications as a scientist to establish a name for oneself in fundamentalist circles as an expert in "creation science." (p. 69)
Response: To be someone that is actually acknowledged as a creation scientist (and not one of those unknowns writing for the "YEC position" in those "four views" or "counterpoints" books, one DOES need to have qualifications in science. In the professional YEC circles, quack scientists are not acknowledged as experts in anything. See here for a list of actual YEC scientists, many with PhDs in their fields.

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