Does Appearance of Age Render God a Deceiver?

(Joshua Hedlund) #21

This is the key here, which many successive comments seem to be running right past without engaging. I have also seen it referred to as a distinction between necessary appearance of age and unnecessary appearance of age, or as I like to say it, the difference between appearance of age and appearance of story. Whatever makes it click for you. It’s the difference between adult trees being created with ten identically wide rings and adult trees being created with ten variable width rings, all of which have a third ring twice as wide as the average of the others, along with the four rivers of Eden all having ten layers of sediment at their mouths with the third one being twice as deep as the average of the others, all suggesting a built-in history with actually deducible precipitation levels. (This is essentially what lake varves and ice cores are, though technically rather with regards to a history of temperatures and atmospheric element ratios.)

I also want to add that for Christians this does not have to be theologically devastating, as it once threatened to be for me.

It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out. (Proverbs 25:2)

When I read earlier geologists saying that they could tell the earth was old but we might never be able to quantify it, not knowing we would discover radioactivity, or when I see how much we would not be able to discover about relative sedimentary layers if the rare process of fossilization did not happen to exist, or when I read about the time-telling of paleomagnetism, to me all it is wonderfully marvelous that we can even uncover this deep story at all, and to me it is telling of a God who is not a deceiver, but rather someone who wants us to discover it all.

(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #22

Complete nonsense.

(George) #23


You know perfectly well that several marsupial lineages can be traced to Australia from South America via Antarctica when all three landmasses were in contact.

The placentals were not near enough to the transfer points to make the relocation.

Conversely, if Australia’s life forms arrived via the Ark… placentals and marsupials would have had equal access to Australia prior to Australia suddenly moving out to the middle of the ocean.

Australia fits only ONE model: Old Earth with God-Guided-Evolution.

(John Harshman) #24
  1. They walked, since South America, Antarctica, and Australia were all one piece at the time.
  2. They didn’t; marsupials were very diverse in South America up until the Great Interchange, and are still moderately diverse.
  3. I presume you refer to placental mammals. They either were never there or became extinct. There is one Australian fossil from the Eocene that may or may not be placental.

Of course just about everything, including the geographic distribution of species, is a threat to young earth creationism. It does imply a deceptive god

(John Harshman) #25

How does Australia support the “god-guided” part?

(S. Joshua Swamidass) split this topic #26

A post was split to a new topic: Does Double Slit Show Light Beyond Time?

(George) #27

Like Evolution in general, for Christian Evolutionists God-Guided is a default position of faith.

Australia’s genomes show a significantly similar genome spread across several “kinds” of marsupials that participated in a marsupial dispersion across Australia:

  1. Predators like Tasmanian Devils;
  2. Vegetarian moles; and
  3. Omnivore bandycoot style pooulations.

So we know that Common Descent fits the scenario well… and God would have been in charge of the pacing for these distinct variants of an ancestral marsupial population!

Would God's Guidance Be DNA-Detectable?

Then maturity can not be an explanation for why those strata date to millions to billions of years old. Fossils are found below such things as volcanic ash and lava flows which should date young if they were produced thousands of years ago.


Astronomy is a direct observation of the past, and from those observations we can see that decay rates were the same in the past. In fact, there is tons of evidence for the constancy of physical laws.

(Ashwin S) #30

I have read that idea. The only question is why didn’t placental mammals also walk to australia? (And if they did walk there, how did they become extinct?)

It’s a story that depends a lot on contingency. Old understand, I am not claiming these kind of details disprove evolution. However, they do present unlikely scenarios.

(Ashwin S) #31

This is an interesting comment. Can you cite your source for claiming placentals were not near the transfer points?

Why is this so? It’s not like the Ark landed in Australia right.

(Ashwin S) #32

Can you share how they calculate decay rates through astronomy?


Sure. When supernovae do their thing they produce a lot of short lived radioisotopes. One of those isotopes is Cobalt-56. They were able to measure the emission spectrum of the supernova remnants and measure the disappearance of 56Co. They calculated a decay rate of 113 +/- 23 days for the half life of 56Co in the supernova which is in good agreement with 111.3 day half life of 56Co here on Earth.

Direct Observation of Radioactive Cobalt Decay in Supernova 1987A

Supernova 1987a was about 160,000 light years away, so this is confirmation that the decay rates were the same 160,000 years ago.

(Dan Eastwood) #34

Yes, God could do that, and God could have done that last Thursday and we would never know the difference. This is known as the Omphalos Argument (sometimes Last-Thursday-ism), and it is rejected by theologians because it implies a deceptive God. What is the value of the Bible if everything in it might be a fiction invented last week? The implication is that God chooses not to act in this manner.

This is particularly troublesome for those who require a literal interpretation of Genesis, because efforts to reconcile scientific evidence with a literal Genesis also imply a deceptive God. Nevertheless, I encounter people will fall back to this sort of argument, not realising it is self-defeating.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) split this topic #35

7 posts were split to a new topic: Would God’s Guidance Be DNA-Detectable?

(John Harshman) #36

We don’t know. We don’t know the geographic distribution of placentals and marsupials before the continents separated, and we don’t know whether placentals ever got to Australia or why, if they did, they became extinct. But I don’t see why that makes the scenario unlikely or why it would be evidence against evolution.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #40

Yes and no. I encourage more scrutiny and care in the theological arguments being put forward here. The problem may not be a deceitful God, as I’ve already explained. However it does make the scientific creationism project self defeating. If we come to this loophole, we have to admit that the earth looks old, so there is legitimacy to the mainstream scientific view. Science is correctly describing the way the world appears. This does not mean God is deceitful, but it does mean that YEC scientists are all wrong in their arguements for a young earth. That is the real problem for them.

(John Harshman) #42

I don’t think you have explained this enough so that I understand your argument. I can’t see how the appearance of age, not necessary for function, can be considered anything other than deceit. You have alluded to the possibility that false history might not be deceitful, but you have not offered any reasons I that I can find. What would those reasons be?

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #44

I would say that this is precisely a theological question that cannot be faciley concluded without very careful reflection.

If you care down that theological inquiry we can, but I don’t want you to misinterpret this as proselytizing. I know you don’t like that.

(John Harshman) #46

If you would be so kind.