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Friday, April 27, 2007

Creation Science - Is God deceptive?

I have often heard people declare their puzzlement at a God who is seemingly deceptive. They'll ask questions like, "Why would God give the Universe an appearance of old age?" in explaining why they do not believe in a six-day creation or a 6-something thousand year old Earth. Another recent comment along those lines has inspired this post. So it goes...

A secular view of light years/the speed of light/the age of the Universe

We measure distances between heavenly bodies in light years, that is, the number of years it takes for the light to travel from, for instance, a star to our planet will represent the distance. Light is figured to be traveling at a bit faster than 186,000 miles per second, so a light year is a vast distance. The Sombrero Galaxy is 50 million light years away! We can see it! Therefore either the Universe is older than 50 million years old, or God created the Universe with an appearance of age!

An answer to the quandry

This is a cart-before-the-horse situation! When God made Adam, He didn't make him as an embroyo in a womb, but rather a fully grown male. Was this deceptive, or was it just practical? In the case of all the stars in the Universe, the fact is that in the Book of Genesis, God clearly creates light before he creates the stars. In other words, instead of firing up a star and having the light travel to us, he created the light and then made sure it traced back to a heavenly body thereafter.

Genesis 1:3 - And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.

God created light on the first day of creation. But he doesn't create stars until day four! The sum of day four is devoted to God putting the sun and the moon and the stars in place. Yet the light has been there since day one.

Genesis 1:18 & 19 - God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good.

So, there was no attempt to deceive. The light was created first, and then later He created sources to continue shining said light. Sure, God could have made an outer globe with floodlights the size of Cleveland a few thousand miles above our heads and a massive sunlamp in place of the sun. He could have made us with rhino horns and polka-dots if He wanted!

But God wanted to present to us a massive, incredible, awesome Universe as a way of trying to illustrate how awesome and magnificent the Creator of said Universe really is. So stars are actually raging nuclear reactions rather than sparkling little points of light, but to the naked eye they are lights for the night sky. There was no intent to deceive, but really, if God was going to make this massive Universe as it is, how else would he deal with the light question? Hmmm?

A secular viewpoint of the Big Bang

The stars and other objects in the heavens are all moving away, apparently, from some kind of starting point and the evidence appears to be that there was a massive explosion that began the Universe. One second there was nothing and by the end of the next second an entire Universe of matter was being flung out into space. The objects currently in space give the appearance of having traveled for billions of years out from this initial event. If God created 6,000 years ago or so by simply speaking, why do we see this evidence with our eyes and instruments?

Answer

I cannot know the Mind of my amazing Creator God, but I can take a shot at this. First, remember that the physical laws of the Universe all have to hang together. The beginning of the Universe was either a masterful job of design and planning (my belief) or a impossibly lucky chance event (which many in the world believe). It just so happens that every creature and every process we see in nature have the appearance of being designed and are far more complex than discernible to the naked eye.

All that is to say that there is certainly a good reason for the objects in space to have the appearance of moving away from a common starting point.

1) They must move in some direction
2) Moving in random patterns would bring about chaos and collisions
3) Moving towards a central point would bring about a fiery end to the Universe
4) Moving away from a central point avoids collisions and allows for predictable operations

If God just placed immovable objects in the heavens, gravity would begin to work upon them and eventually the stars would begin heading towards the nearest neighbor. The relationships in placement would be changed (so much for constellations and navigation by the stars!) and, soon, there would be collisions as the closer bodies found each other. The eventual result would be utter chaos.

Again, that God would align the planets in this way makes perfect sense and probably has nothing to do with making scientists of the 20th century believe that the Universe began with a Bang. Furthermore, that He took an entire day to create and align all the stars of the heavens implies that He put much effort into the final result. We are not able to go back in time to observe how He did it. But He said it was done in one day and the result is certainly logical.

Genesis 1:1 - In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

We know that God, according to the Book of Genesis, took six days to create the Universe, with light being created on day one, the source of the lights being created on day four and Man himself being saved for day six. In those six days, He developed all the laws of the Universe, created all matter, furnished all energy, designed and started all life. What a creation!

We know that secular scientists promote the idea of a Universe that happened by chance some 15 billion years ago or so. All laws and relationships and creatures and functions and operations that all work together in concert so beautifully well all just happened to happen by pure random chance. Now that would be a miracle way beyond raising someone from the dead, in my opinion!

We now have observed that the speed of light is not a constant and that the average rate of the speed of light may well be decaying. Light can seem to move faster than it should in certain situations and other times, slower. The study of Quantum physics has thrown the Newtonian view of the Universe into the corner, there are fuzzy areas between particles and waves and odd relationships between operations and the observation of those operations. The nature of the Universe is a continual surprise to those who study it.

There are people on both sides of the evolution versus creation aisle looking at the other side with absolute awe at the other side's colossal ignorance. This guy, on the God side, has just presented some logical and simple explanations for problems secularists will present as they attempt to move God out of the realm of science. There are smart folks on both sides but often philosophical requirements can blind them to the nature of the actual evidence.

~~~~~~~~

BTW - after being challenged on the issue of ice cores, and making a post about that very thing, the challengers have been mum. I suspect that is the normal response to having a rug pulled out from under one's self. My post didn't prove that ice cores show a short age for the earth but they certainly show how a short age for the earth is supported by the evidence of the ice cores. Tree rings will be discussed in short order as well.

Be blessed!

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

"after being challenged on the issue of ice cores, and making a post about that very thing, the challengers have been mum. I suspect that is the normal response to having a rug pulled out from under one's self."

Not really. It's true that I have been somewhat busy this week, but I was also hoping that you would finish the argument - after all, it was just the "opening argument" to your "assertion: Using ice cores to try to determine the age of the earth is based upon starting suppositions". Do you mean to tell me that it was the closing argument as well? What, you just went and googled the subject and pasted the first argument you ran across, and now you just want to claim to have won the argument?

Where's the second argument and the closing argument? That's the bare minimum one would expect to support your assertion that using ice cores to try to determine the age of the earth is based upon starting suppositions.

(I seem to recall you've run away from arguments before and subsequently claimed victory. Surely that can't be a satisfying MO for you... or can it?)

Surely that "opening argument" can't be all you've got. The article you copied in its entirety even says: "The subject of reversals, and how they fit into the Creation-Flood model is beyond the scope of this article." So how does YEC account for these reversals? I figured you'd offer alternative explanations for this in the actual meat of your argument. If YEC can't even offer a reasonable explanation for this, then it doesn't even rise to the level of being subject to Occam's Razor.

And why won't you just admit that YEC is the idea of science turned on its head - start with the conclusion, twist any data to match it or dismiss them out of hand as some kind of conspiracy, and investigate no further?

"My post didn't prove that ice cores show a short age for the earth but they certainly show how a short age for the earth is supported by the evidence of the ice cores."

So how did it not prove that ice cores show a short age for the earth, but somehow show that evidence of the ice cores supports a short age for the ice cores?

All that article did was point out some alleged "questionable" practices without going into detail on any of them. And what it certainly did not do was present an explanation of the data that is remotely consistent with a 6,000 year timeframe. Is there any such thing, Radar, or is it all just deny deny deny? Scientists don't impose a magical 6,000 year barrier - if the data that is deemed reliable for, say, the past 500 years also works for the past, say, 2,000 years, and then for the past 5,000 and the past 10,000, there's nothing in science that says we have to question the whole validity of the methods if something indicates an age beyond 6,000 years.

It's not that there's no foregone assumption of an old earth, it's just that there's nothing indicating a magical break 6,000 years ago. That requires an insistence on a literal interpretation of certain parts of the Bible, which even vast numbers of Christians don't subscribe to. (That alone should blow the silly argument that an old Earth is the result of some secular conspiracy out of the water. Next time you have the knee-jerk reaction that an old-Earth argument is some kind of commie atheist trick, maybe you could discuss this with a fellow Christian who doesn't subscribe to a YEC worldview.)

"Tree rings will be discussed in short order as well."

... hopefully with a little more thought-out reasoning than your aborted attempt to tackle the ice-core issue, eh? And once you're done with all that, you can have another go at your attempt to reason through this whole global warming thing, since you will have eliminated the data you used to back that up. Maybe that's still difficult for you to understand, but I'll walk you through it once you've done your best to discredit ice core dating and dendrochronology.

So will there be any additional arguments re. your ice core assertion? Or shall we consider that battlefield (like so many others) abandoned by the YEC contingent?



As for the present post regarding a deceptive God, it's a pretty funny reaction to the fact that the evidence around us does not indicate a 6,000 year-old world. That's right, God made it look like it was older. Complete and utter cognitive dissonance at its finest: why would God put those rays of light in place on the first day if not to deceive us? Why not create all the stars as they are, even expanding for the reasons you hypothesize, but because the whole dang thing is only 6,000 years old, we only get to see the ones 6,000 light years away from us?

The predictable answer from the YEC crowd is of course that we can't begin to understand God's motivations etc. etc. - but don't go pretending that such an alleged practice would not be deceptive.

(And it should be needless to say (though I'm afraid in this case it isn't) that this whole approach fails the test of Occam's Razor: compare an object giving off light vs. rays of light being put in place by a hypothetical supernatural being, then the object corresponding to the rays of light subsequently actually being created.)


And last and least: a minor correction of a mistake almost universally made by YECs describing the Big Bang - what is hypothesized to exist before the Big Bang is not "nothing", but a singularity. The two are not synonymous.

Anonymous said...

oh yeah, the previous post was by me, creeper. As if you hadn't guessed.

Anonymous said...

"All that is to say that there is certainly a good reason for the objects in space to have the appearance of moving away from a common starting point.

1) They must move in some direction
2) Moving in random patterns would bring about chaos and collisions
3) Moving towards a central point would bring about a fiery end to the Universe
4) Moving away from a central point avoids collisions and allows for predictable operations"


Moving outward in a straight line is hardly a straightforward or elegant solution. A simpler solution to these requirements would be a simple rotation of orbiting objects, which we see in so many solar systems, galaxies etc.

... at least that's what a smart designer would do (and in your worldview has done, except for in this case).

And this kind of stuff just cracks me up:

"I cannot know the Mind of my amazing Creator God"

but

"But God wanted to present to us a massive, incredible, awesome Universe as a way of trying to illustrate how awesome and magnificent the Creator of said Universe really is."

One moment God's motivations are gobbledygook to you, the next you use them to support some insupportable position. Well heck, if God wants to present a massive, incredible, awesome Universe to us to show how mindbogglingly cool he really is (Monty Python had a lovely scene about this in 'The Meaning Of Life', by the way*), then who's to say he didn't make a Universe that will endure and has endured for more than a few piddling millennia? Maybe God did create a Universe that is older and more impressive than you think. Have you ever considered that?

Who are you to cut God down to such a puny size, a God who constructs a measly 6,000 year universe but somehow has to cheat to make it look like it endured for much longer? Why would he create the planets to show off to us anyway? All he'd have to do would be to create the rays of light to deceive us into thinking he's more super than he is, right? No need for the actual objects themselves in that case.

Would you seriously have us believe that putting light rays in place to expand the age of his universe by a factor of gazillions to, as you so charmingly put it, "illustrate how awesome and magnificent the Creator of said Universe really is" is not cheap deceptive bluster?

Why cheat? If he was that awesome and magnificent, he wouldn't have built a fraud, he'd have built the real thing.

Why on Earth do you insist on devoting a whole post to such a bizarre and utterly hypothetical fraud? And by that I don't mean God, but this bizarre instance of cognitive dissonance where -

- the Universe is supposedly very young
- there is evidence that it is very old (as you even admit by putting up such a bizarre defensive post)
- but that evidence was supposedly put in place by God to make the Universe look old to convince us of how amazing he is, but it actually isn't that old (which I guess means he's that much less impressive, or something?)
- but God is not deceptive...

Could you explain how all this is meant to fit together? (And keep in mind you're always allowed to change your mind.)

-- creeper

*Monty Python - Meaning of Life:

Chaplain: Let us praise God. Oh Lord...

Congregation: Oh Lord...

Chaplain: Oooh you are so big...

Congregation: Oooh you are so big...

Chaplain: So absolutely huge.

Congregation: So ab - solutely huge.

Chaplain: Gosh, we're all really impressed down here I can tell you.

Congregation: Gosh, we're all really impressed down here I can tell you.

Chaplain: Forgive Us, O Lord, for this dreadful toadying.

Congregation: And barefaced flattery.

Chaplain: But you are so strong and, well, just so super.

Congregation: Fan - tastic.

Headmaster: Amen.

Lava said...

If God just placed immovable objects in the heavens, gravity would begin to work upon them and eventually the stars would begin heading towards the nearest neighbor.

This makes me think of the Homer Simpson quote "could Jesus microwave a burrito so hot that he himself could not eat it?"

If God placed immovable objects, would they not be immovable?

if God was going to make this massive Universe as it is, how else would he deal with the light question? Hmmm?

God could have set forth the events of the big bang.

scohen said...

Radar,
I LOVED this article. I haven't laughed this hard in a long time. Please, post more like this --you made my day.

Just to show I was paying attention, your argument can be re-stated as: "God is not deceptive, he just went to great lengths to deceive us."

Then you go for the one-two punch of "A secular view of light years/the speed of light" and then the comment about the light the size of Cleveland. That's one hell of a light! Do tell, what's the theistic speed of light? Does that mean if you measure the speed of light, it will be different than if I measure it? Does light have a Jewish speed, a Christian speed and an Atheist speed?

Unfortunately, your science is flawed (natch).

1. The speed of light in a vacuum is constant.

2. Moving outwards from a single point doesn't prevent collisions. They happen ALL the time, from things falling into black holes to stars smashing into one another to entire galaxies colliding. Get a telescope and see for yourself, it's quite fascinating.


We now have observed that the speed of light is not a constant and that the average rate of the speed of light may well be decaying.

No, we have not. This is totally false, and if you can actually show this to be true, you'll win the Nobel prize.


Light can seem to move faster than it should in certain situations and other times, slower.

Again, this statement is totally incorrect. Light behaves exactly as predicted, every time. It might less rapidly in one medium than in another, but we expect that to happen. For even more fun, particles can exceed the speed of light in the medium in which they travel, which produces cherenkov radiation. However, the speed of light in a vacuum is constant, unchanging, and can be thought of as the galactic speed limit. C: It's not just a good idea --it's the law.


The study of Quantum physics has thrown the Newtonian view of the Universe into the corner,

Not true at all, quantum physics only applies to very small things. Newtonian motion (with the added corrections of relativity) predicts the movement of the planets, galaxies and galaxy clusters very well.

there are fuzzy areas between particles and waves and odd relationships between operations and the observation of those operations.

And this affects galaxies, planets and large quantities of light how? Do they change if we observe them? Can a galaxy act like a particle or a wave? Can you perform the two-slit experiment with a galaxy? A human? A mosquito?

No, you can't.


The nature of the Universe is a continual surprise to those who study it.

That's absolutely true. Gotta love astrophysics and astronomy. That said, it's being open to new ideas, making observations coming up with hypothesis and having them confirmed or discarded that's interesting. These disciplines do not continually hammer a square peg into a round hole and declare that they're correct (all the while discarding evidence that contradicts their hypothesis).

And that's the big problem here, you start out with a hypothesis and discard, question or ignore evidence that disagrees with it, rather than simply realizing that your initial hypothesis is wrong. It's too bad really, the universe is a fascinating, beautiful place, and the fact that it's at least billions of years old is readily apparent.

Mazement said...

But God wanted to present to us a massive, incredible, awesome Universe as a way of trying to illustrate how awesome and magnificent the Creator of said Universe really is.

Here's the Wikipedia article on Supernova 1987a.

Basically we got to see a star explode. There were a lot of fancy pyrotechnics, and neutrino bursts and stuff. I didn't get to see it because it was in the Southern hemisphere, sigh.

The star was 168,000 light years away. So if the universe is only 6,000 years old, the star never existed, and the explosion never happened. It was a fake; a mirage. If God had teleported Adam to that location, all he would have seen was a dust cloud that looked to be 162,000 years old. (That's assuming that point in space even exists. If the Universe ends within the next 162,000 years, then nothing that has ever existed in that place can have any effect on Earth.)

I dunno. I'd be impressed by a God who wanted to create a vast magnificent Universe that was billions of years old and billions of light-years across.

And I'd be just as impressed by a God who chose to create a smaller, shorter-lived universe, especially if it were a really intricate one. (Size isn't everything!)

But what about a God who chose to create a small universe, and then set up a facade to make it look like it was bigger and older than it really was? Well, I'd still be impressed...I can't create any kind of universe...but I'd be a little suspicious, too. Especially if He started asking for money or favors.

PanDeism Fish said...

I have seen this video -- you can find it easily on the web -- showing how the Hubble Space Telescope focused on an empty spot in the sky for a few weeks and discovered tens of thousands of galaxies!! Seems that every peice of darkness in the night sky holds these hidden views, and we don't have the time or technology to look into (or beyond) every one of those spots.... So, apparently, in creating the splendor of the Universe, God made stars and planets that are (or appear) soooo far away, that humans will never actually see them.... well I guess we should be really impressed by those bits of light that never even grace us with knowledge of their existence....

This mystery of the Universe is why I am a PanDeism!! Pandeism sensibly demonstrates how God simply set out the basic physics to create the Universe billions of years ago.... thus, says Pandeism, all of those planets and stars and galaxies, black holes, dark matter, all of that was just the result of using the right mix of physics at the outset to create a Universe in which life would be most likely to pop up eventually in some of those many star systems!!

Anonymous said...

PanDeism Fish, you are a PanDeism? I think you mean you're a PanDeist?