Scientific Participation of YECs

I never claimed no one’s judgment can be trusted. I would say everyone has bias, and therefore no one’s opinion should be swallowed without reflection. But this is just part of normal adult human life and is not remarkable.

As for me personally, I am interested in the topic because there is a pretty clear conflict between what historical sources say happened in the past and what scientific sources happened in the past. I’ve always considered it to be a legitimate debate at the same time knowing that many, including most here at PS, do not consider it to be a legitimate debate. This has affected me personally, as it was one of the reasons I stopped pursuing an academic career as a research scientist. I knew that I would have to keep quiet about what I thought and that my personality was unsuited to do that. I also believed until shown otherwise that the academic community would be open to different ideas on the subject.

So the fact is that I do not really care what anyone else believes. I would be perfectly happy if everyone was allowed to believe what they want and pursue science in a community together. Sadly that is not the case.


It’s not the case because some beliefs prevent science instead of allowing it to happen. Your idea that “historical sources”, by which you presumably mean Genesis, outweigh empirical study is one of those beliefs. If you have a prior and absolute commitment to YEC, you can’t test YEC. Unless hypotheses are vulnerable to testing, there can be no science.


Historical sources go back, at most, to about 6000 years ago. Obviously, those can tell us literally nothing about the things that happened in the 14+ billion preceding that. The “conflict” you mention does not exist.

So your interest in the topic is based on a falsehood. Need to find some other reason, I’m afraid.

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You are free to believe whatever you want and to pursue it to your heart’s content. Everyone else in science is free to refuse to hire you if you don’t show understanding and competence of basic science facts required for the job. NASA is under no obligation to hire as an orbital mechanics specialist someone who believes in a Flat Earth.


Which is it Timothy? Do I need to “show understanding and competence” or do I need to “believe”? I thought science did not require faith.

What part of “Everyone else in science is free to refuse to hire you if you don’t show understanding and competence of basic science facts required for the job.” didn’t you understand?

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It’s what the evidence says happened that matters.

There seems to be this idea within creationist circles that science is about having opinions and ideas. We keep hearing that the scientific community won’t listen to the ideas and opinions of creationists, which is somehow unfair. More than once I have heard creationists complain that they don’t submit articles to peer review because other scientists are hostile to their opinions and ideas.

What creationists seem to miss is that science is about the strength of testable hypotheses, the quality of the data, the reliability of the methodologies, and how the data relates to the hypothesis. It isn’t about opinions and ideas. Creationists rarely, if ever, do these things.

What experiments would you have done to support YEC if you had continued on in science? What criteria would you have used to determine if a sedimentary layer was produced from a recent global flood, and what evidence, if found, would falsify that model? What methods would you use to date rocks? There needs to be methods, hypotheses, and data. Opinions and ideas aren’t going to cut it.


Yes. You also need to show an ability to offer potential falsifications for your hypotheses and a commitment to following the evidence no matter where it leads. Unfortunately, YEC can’t seem to exist without a firm commitment to inventing ad hoc rescue devices to make obvious falsifications go away.


Let’s cut Ben a little slack and make these question more general/less personal. In particular “You” could be taken as questioning Ben’s competence to pursue research. That shouldn’t be the point unless that’s what Ben wants to chat about.

ETA: I replied to Tim, but my caution is intended for all.


It’s also true that not everyone gets to study whatever they want. There are other considerations, such as who would guide the research (of a student) and the availability of research funding in a particular topic.

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Good point.

@BenKissling, please read my posts as referring to a creationist in general, and not you in particular. I never meant my posts to be overly personal or a call-out of a single individual, but perception can be reality at times. Moreover, thanks for your well thought out and courteous posts.


The “you” in my original answer referred to the generic “you” meaning any person.

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I know, and that’s why I already edited. :slight_smile:

It was a legitimate debate, at one time.

James Hutton’s geological theories did not meet with immediate acceptance. Later, at a time when many geologist were already regarding the age of the earth in the billions, Kelvin calculated that based on heat transfer the planet was between 20 and 100 million years old. His reasoning was sound, if in conflict with geologists, but of course the discovery of radioactivity was a factor he could not anticipate. By then, so many independent lines of investigation grew to support an ancient earth that the consensus was essentially complete and the debate finally over. It took decades of controversy, challenge, and argument to reach that point.

So here we are, years, decades, and generations after. How long is science supposed to hold a spherical earth, a Copernican cosmology, or an ancient earth, as open questions?


7 posts were split to a new topic: History vs. Prehistory

Thanks for sharing this @BenKissling. This is really unfortunate. I wish it had been different for you.

That is a great sentiment, and it is close to what I’ve observed in science. I know several YECs in mainstream science that do just fine, including in biology at the tenure track level. No one in science cares what you believe in your heart. There are not belief statements or litmus tests. Science just cares about the quality of your scientific work.

Now the standards of scientific work are very high, and public statements about science are going to influence your scientific reputation. Do shoddy work or made dumb public statements about science, you are going to have a problem, whether you are YEC or not.

This also is true.

Both can be true at the same time. You can understand and demonstrate competence in evolution and the science behind an old earth, even if you totally disagree with it. No one will ever ask you what you personally believe. If you are competent, they might even let you teach the evolutionary biology class.

YECs are not usually going to find them selves doing evolutionary science, but some biologists I know do work in other areas. They are just never asked about the age of the earth or evolutionary science, so they don’t even have to demonstrate competence in evolution.

You can even make your private beliefs known. As long as you don’t start making dumb public statements about science, no one will care.


But are any of them in a field of biology to which YEC is relevant? It would be very difficult, given the current state of practice and knowledge, to function as a YEC systematist. You couldn’t engage with the rest of the field at all. Even worse would be a YEC paleontologist. You’d have to live a double life, behaving at all times “as if”.


No. YECs should not be teaching evolution anymore than flat earthers should be teaching geography.

That is very difficult.

Marcus Ross is one example, as is Kurt Wise, of YECs who went to leading secular geology PhD programs. Yes, they were living an intellectual double life, behaving at all times “as if.”

In the case of Ross, he was open with this advisors about it, and they did not discriminate against him. This is totally unsurprising to me now, but would have been shocking to learn this when I was a YEC. Turns out that they just did not care what his personal beliefs were if his scientific work was solid, and at least during his PhD it was. He went on to take a professorship at a YEC institution though.

I do know of a research scientist in astrophysics working at an Ivy League in Boston too. He takes an “appearance of age” understanding of the cosmos, and was admirably honest about the difficulties with his position when I talked with him.


That isn’t really right. You don’t have to do that if YEC is merely a private belief. No one cares what you believe in your heart.

Moreover, it isn’t like we don’t know how to falsify YEC. Instead, they have to show systematic effort to falsify YEC to be taken seriously. Therein lies the difficulty.

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