Mine, All Mine!

Jason Lisle has nothing to report by way of completed ‘research’ at the ICR for this month. Instead, in The Importance of Creation Research, he appropriates all other research ever as supporting his cause. Because you see, “All science is creation science.”

Hwa?

Science is possible precisely because God upholds the universe in a consistent way that the human mind can (at least partially) understand. If the universe were merely the result of chance, then there would be no reason to expect it to obey laws. Even granting the existence of laws, there would be no reason to think that such laws would be mathematical in nature or understandable by the human mind. Nor would there be any reason to expect any kind of consistency in those laws over space and time. (Why would the same laws that apply on earth today also apply on Mars next Thursday?)

Well why wouldn’t they? God acts, after all, by miracles (or at least He is supposed to). By definition any act by Him is a suspension of the natural order, a breaking of the rules – and an active God like that of the Young Earth Creationists is the very antithesis of a predictable universe. If you could prove any case where such a ‘miracle’ has actually occurred the creationists would seize on it as evidence, nay proof, of His existence. Here Lisle wants it both ways.

The other day my physics teacher asked the class to write on the board what they already knew about the atom – important because a good portion of the class also takes chemistry, as you might expect. One person wrote up that atoms and their components follow the laws of quantum physics. But this has it a bit backwards, as it’s not that the atoms follow those laws but that those laws describe what they do. Another person wrote, as a joke, that atoms are lies and it’s all God’s doing, but I digress.

Light travels at the speed of light not because some being has told it to, but because that’s what light does – it can do nothing else (and being able to do something else would be a gain in function which as everyone knows requires supernatural intervention 😉 ). What’s more, many of the ‘laws’ of physics are already known to follow logically from others, and as we are still hunting for a Theory of Everything Lisle cannot point to any law that he knows is the direct word of God.

Now, “there would be no reason to think that such laws would be mathematical in nature or understandable by the human mind”? First, remember that we evolved in this universe and at least like to think that our primary advantage is being able to understand it better than anything else can. Given that, there would really need to be some kind of predictability that we are capable to grasp for us to get this far. That being said, it could be feasible for the universe to be created in such a way that what’s really going on is to far out of our grasp to start with for us to slowly work it out via the cumulative scientific process. And yet while that sounds like the kind of prank the YEC’s God would try to play, that’s not what we observe in the universe.

Meanwhile, ‘mathematical rules’ is basically a tautology so I don’t think Lisle has a leg to stand on there. Whatever the nature of the universe we should still be able to at least preform basic statistical analysis on observed phenomena.

That’s really the gist of Lisle’s article and a summary of its flaws – he spends most of the rest of his time repeating himself over and over again. But there are a few other things worth commenting on. First:

Of course, not all scientists do research in a God-honoring way. Many of them simply take for granted that the universe obeys consistent, invariant laws of nature without recognizing that such organization comes from God. They know in their hearts that God exists and is the Creator of all, but they suppress what they know to be true and do not honor God for His faithfulness in upholding creation (Romans 1:18-21). Secular scientists are inconsistent. They expect the universe to behave in a logical, consistent way since they know in their heart-of-hearts that it is upheld by the power of God. Yet, they profess that the universe is not upheld by the power of God.

Yes. “You know I’m right but are just denying it.” Keep dreaming, Jason – given that God will apparently chuck non-believers into the fire after Gollum, why should people deny Him if they truly believe in their hearts? It makes no sense.Venus, which rotates 'backwards,' reflected in the pacific

Creation research can help expose secular inconsistency. A number of specific lines of evidence in geology, biology, astronomy, physics, and chemistry are very difficult to explain from an evolutionary perspective. Things like C-14 in diamonds, backward-rotating planets, irreducible complexity in cells, inconsistent radiometric age estimates, and many other facts are very puzzling from an evolutionary point of view, but make perfect sense in light of biblical creation. Since a devout evolutionist can always invoke an auxiliary hypothesis to explain these data, we do not use these scientific evidences to prove creation in an absolute sense. But we can certainly use them to get people thinking and to show some serious difficulties with evolution.

At least he admits that all of his examples are bullshit, if not in so many words. It’s interesting to note that all of his examples are framed in a way that suggests that predictable naturalistic processes have been disrupted in some way, i.e. they are miracles. As I said, Lisle is trying to have his cake and eat it too, and is additionally getting off track here.

Finally:

Why is it that ICR scientists spend so much time and effort scrutinizing every little detail of data for absolute accuracy? It is because we are followers of Christ. “Accurate” basically means “true.” And since Christians follow Christ, who is the truth, all Christians should be concerned for accuracy and should have the highest regard for creation research.

This rests on the assumption that the ICR’s members actually are rigorous, which is false. Jason Lisle has joined a largely incompetent institution, and his delusions wont change this. Bring on next month’s research column!

8 thoughts on “Mine, All Mine!

  1. But the universe doesn’t obey laws. There are no laws. It’s just a figure of speech to describe the consistent behaviour of most components of the universe. And even these are partial. Relativity isn’t seen to happen at the scale of the everyday world, Newtonian mechanics doesn’t work at the very small and quantum mechanics is virtually inexplicable outside of mathematical equations.
    It’s our fault – scientists I mean – we started out calling these observations laws because we thought they were laws like a speed limit in a built up area. When we knew better we started to talk about theories and dug ourselves an even bigger hole to fall in. We forgot that words have loose everyday meanings and that the majority of people will go to those meanings first. So a theory is something speculative – a guess. Try to explain otherwise and the non-scientist gets that glazed look.
    If there’s a law someone passed it – right? It’s obvious – right? No that’s not what we mean by a law – aaand there’s that look again. Lights on – nobody home.
    And we do it all the time – Big Bang? well a singularity has no dimensions so it wasn’t big and if there was no air there was no sound so it wasn’t a bang.
    See? we hand them the ammunition and then have to duck when they fire it at us.
    Not that I’m being altogether serious here – I mean – what else are we going to call it?
    But the YECs are smart enough to know a free bullet when they find one.
    And we shouldn’t have to face it all the time. Scientists (even retired ones like me) have enough to do without wasting breath defending real science against these kooks, something Peter does rather well, i hasten to add.
    I don’t have the patience with them.

  2. “But we can certainly use them to get people thinking and to show some serious difficulties with evolution.”

    Translation

    “By only telling half the story we can make it seem like there are holes in the story, reassuring the faithful that it is wrong.”

  3. This is Jason’s thing for the last two years or so. “No matter what you argue against YEC, YEC is real ’cause it says that the ability for you to argue comes from YEC.” It’s about the level of argument I’ve been having on my blog the last two weeks (have you been following my blog lately?).

    • Evidently not (my stupid new mp3 player is refusing to play your podcasts properly for some reason, so I’ve fallen behind recently).

    • No the podcast – the blog. The lunar ziggurat stuff. You wanna talk about paranoid people, well … yeah ….

  4. I recently emailed the ICR as below (no reply was ever received):

    “If the universe were merely the result of chance, then there would be
    no reason to expect it to obey laws.” ‘Uniformity’ – one of Lisle’s
    favourite themes – NOT to be confused with the dreaded
    ‘uniformitarianism’! But why NOT? Especially mathematical laws and
    principles.

    “Every single scientific discovery that has ever been made is a
    confirmation of the Christian worldview.” Ah yes, if Christianity was
    not true science would be totally impossible. And maths would not even
    work. Of course!

    “They expect the universe to behave in a logical, consistent way since
    they know in their heart-of-hearts that it is upheld by the power of
    God. Yet, they profess that the universe is not upheld by the power of
    God.” Naughty wicked hypocrites and frauds – fire the lot of them. Let
    the ICR set all the science curricula for the US and beyond – Rhonda
    Forlow would be happy. http://www.icr.org/article/6905/

    “Things like C-14 in diamonds, backward-rotating planets, irreducible
    complexity in cells, inconsistent radiometric age estimates, and many
    other facts are very puzzling from an evolutionary point of view, but
    make perfect sense in light of biblical creation.” It must be something
    they put in the water supply.

    “We want to be accurate in everything we do. And so we subject every
    new claim to rigorous analysis and testing and publish the results in
    peer-reviewed literature, so that other experts in the field can check
    for potential problems.” LIAR. Whenever the ICR and AiG receive
    criticisms from me – a layman I admit – they NEVER refute them, nor
    take them on board – they IGNORE them. Apparently one must have the
    right worldview in order to be listened to by Lisle and his former and
    current colleagues.

    What about internet technology? Is that creation science too?

    Why is it that I find pompous serial liars so offensive (not to me
    personally but to education in general)?

    • “.. make perfect sense in the light of biblical creation,” Of course they do. Science has to account for inconsistencies or alter the model or devise a new model or (gasp) admit we don’t know but we’re working on it.
      The creation story was one size fits all bronze age account that boils down to go did it.
      ICR and the rest take a few bits of real science and shoe horn them into the myth or they harp on about how science can’t explain X while ignoring all the explanations.
      And they twist language to suit them; “peer” means an equal so “peer reviewed” means reviewed by scientists of equal standing ie other creationists. Why else are so many creationists lawyers and politicians?
      Try reading “Flat Earth; the History of an Infamous Idea” by Christine Garwood – it shows just how long standing the YEC tactics are.

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