...we should base our beliefs about natural history no less than human history on the weight of the evidence, remaining very open to where the evidence might lead. Many literalists, though, live with a visceral terror, thinly veiled behind their statements of dogmatic certainty and superior faith, that the entire religious edifice they have dedicated their lives to constructing could at any moment come crashing down upon their heads. Theirs is a theology conceived as a high-stakes game of Jenga. Whatever you do, don't touch the bricks at the base of the tower.
The foundational importance of creationism for all Christian belief and practice is allegedly self-evident from the objective words of Scripture, so that strict literalism on Genesis cannot be subjectively denied by anyone who truly has faith in the Bible's authority and has read Scripture with intense inner devotion under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. All external sources of knowledge, including even one's direct observations of empirical reality, must be regarded with an attitude of skepticism and doubt until situated in the reconstructed tower of knowledge built upon those putatively incontrovertible biblical foundations. Literalism and young earth or young life creationism are therefore varieties (although some creationists may protest otherwise) of the theological and epistemological stance known as fideism. They rest upon the conviction that human reason left to its own ways is not merely inadequate to arrive at full theological knowledge but in some sense antithetical or hostile to faith. [Ronald E. Osborn, Death Before the Fall: Biblical Literalism and the Problem of Animal Suffering (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2014), 44-5]
In this book, Osborn continues his attack on creationists as being narrow-minded fideists for quite some pages, attributing this narrow, terror-filled mindset to all YECs. I must say it always amuses me when people think they know the mindset of ALL YECs. After all, I don't remember when was the last time YECs, at least the respectable ones, have ever psychoanalyze their opponents.
So are there professed YECs who are fearful of the unknown, who refuse to read scientific literature and any others that oppose their mental "Jenga" tower edifice? Perhaps. But what does this have to do with the issue at all? Even if, let's say, all YECs fit that anti-intellectual Fundamentalist mold, that does not disprove young earth creationism one bit.
The problem comes when people accept uncritically the accusations of Liberals who mock those who hold to the faith during the Modernist-Fundamentalist controversy. Since the Liberals thought of themselves as progressivists, those who oppose them must, by definition, be backwards, otherwise their cause is called into question. The Liberals controlled most of the Academy, and so their baseless accusations are repeated as fact. To tar conservatives (both Reformed and Fundamentalists) as anti-intellectual simpletons, they found or manufactured the most egregious examples of anti-intellectualism and trumpeted that as the beliefs and behaviors of a typical conservative. A lie repeated many times sometimes can even be believed by its opponents as true and thus it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, in a phenomenon very much like that of Stockholm syndrome.
We have already seen this in the revisionist history concerning creationism. The first thing to do in attacking YEC is to deny its legitimacy, its standing as a viable theory. The revisionist history makes it out to be a creation of a quack scientist, a Seventh-Day Adventist by the name of George McGready Price. After all, for those who believe in the Bible, who would actually want to be associated with quack science and a group that is outside the pale of orthodoxy? Who wants to be associated with quacks who predict the second coming of Christ (and failed)? All of this revisionist history is meant to delegitimize creationism as something even worthy of being considered. After all, if a theory is not worth considering, one does not even have to deal with the actual arguments, or lack of them.
Osborn of course continues with his psychoanalysis of the "mindset" of YECs. It is all very easy to make general accusations, but proof is hard to come by. It is insufficient to claim creationism as being foundationalist, because Foundationalism in some forms is the majority view held throughout the centuries even before Descartes. Descartes' contribution was to bring the issues of first principles more clearly to the fore, and to transfer the axiom from revelation to reason. The attack against Foundationalism is ridiculous, for the simple reason that all beliefs are to some extent either foundationalist, or incoherent. Start questioning anything, and in the end there will be a body of truths, or one truth, that cannot be really questioned. Call them "basic beliefs" or whatever you like, but every system of thought have certain beliefs that its adherents take to be true because they just are. Ask an empiricist why they should trust their senses, and it is unlikely they can give you a real answer, at least not an answer from empiricism (which would make them a non-empiricist). Osborn makes a lot of grand claims, but where is the actual proof for all of them?
To pile on the manure, Osborn further claims that it is the belief of fundamentalists and creationists that "human reason left to its own ways is not merely inadequate to arrive at full theological knowledge but in some sense antithetical or hostile to faith." I must say this is really astonishing, because that IS the historic Christian position. That is why Anselm says Credo ut Intelligam, and not the other way around. The Christian tradition down through the ages have always rejected appeals to pure reason apart from revelation. That is why Rationalism from Descartes onwards have been opposed by confessional Reformed theologians.
The main problem with Osborn's accusations is that it is a mirror image of Liberalism in all its forms. It assumes that all educated and knowledgeable scholars must agree with them, since their liberal conclusions is so plain those who reject them must be idiots. Nevermind that the best Reformed and Evangelical scholars have read the liberals, and yet we reject their conclusions. Those of us who are not part of the Fundamentalist anti-intellectual fringe actually DO read books we disagree about (after all, why would I otherwise want to read this book which disagrees with me), even heretical books. We are not afraid of being friends with those we disagree with, or inviting them to dinner and having conversations. And that is the problem Liberals have, since in their system, people like us are not supposed to exist. That is why they must demonize us and relegate us to the fringes, because otherwise it can be seen that theirs is not the only "scholarly" way.
Creationism is not fideism. Rather, we see the relation between facts and theories differently. We do not believe there are such things as "brute facts," but all facts are interpreted in some fashion. Also, with knowledge about the nature and limitations of science, we are unafraid of what the sciences can show.
Osborn continues to go at this drivel for another ten or more pages, which is really sad. All these serve no real purpose except to provide more ammo for misrepresentation and character assassination, and is not much different from the heckling of members of Westboro Baptist, i.e. they both serve only to reinforce stereotypes and create antagonism.