The Confessions of a Disappointed Young-Earther

An old-earth creationist who once accepted a young earth surveys the shifts in arguments for a young earth that changed his mind.

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Interesting. Two first impressions:

  1. The author is to be congratulated on his journey, though it’s not yet complete. He’s reconciled himself to the evidence of an old universe and planet. But now he has to deal with the evidence for common descent in the biota.

  2. It’s insulting to equate scientists and creationists as presuppositionallists or fideists.

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Agreed.

He did that here:

Not that this article was first published in 2013, so his journey continued on after.

I don’t know if that is what he is doing.

From the article

Let us remember that prior to 1961, the majority of fundamentalist and evangelical leaders held to some version of old-earth creationism (OEC).

This is true. Even through the 70’s, being in a self identified fundamentalist, evangelical Bible college, none of the instructors held to a young earth, and the image of dinosaurs running around Eden was not taken very seriously. So unfortunately, the evangelical relationship with science has been reactionary oven the last number of decades.

Omphalos was well illustrated, well written, and revealed a thorough knowledge of geology, paleontology, and biology as understood in his day.
…
Gosse arrived at the conclusion that we should study the earth as if it were old .

Unlike many, Keithley actually gets Gosse’s main point. YEC often appeal to the concept of a mature creation, but resist the idea that maturity involves a false history. The maturity is presented as some sort of some platonic idealization, but anything superfluous would be considered deceptive. Gosse contested the notion that such a distinction could be driven between nature as mature versus nature as uniformly and evidently old, and he disputed that maturity could have a logical starting point. While the Omphalos hypothesis came up short as a satisfactory apologetic, Gosse’s critique of the notion of maturity remains an underappreciated conceptual challenge to fiat creation of nature.

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No, he didn’t?

He explains that the GAE is a viable option for OEC, even with evolution in the mix. Because he doesn’t see any theological stakes at risk in the debate, he is content to let Christians scientists debate it. But he has no reason to reject it.

That is a major move for OEC, and Ken was wise to do it as he did.

For him, he doesn’t need to champion evolution per se. He isn’t a scientist. But as a theologians he is being clear that OECs can affirm evolution, because there are ways to affirm it that do not create theological problems.

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I don’t believe it did. The article mentions only human evolution, and that only tangentially.

I refer to this:

What took him so long?

Yes, that was written in 2013. The article I referred you to was written in 2020, many years later.

Also, whether presuppositions are work with Dawkins is an entirely different question than whether they are at work with Christians that affirm evolutionary science.

I don’t see how that article gets us to an acceptance of common ancestry between all vertebrates, including humans.

It is a move away FROM skepticism and rejection TO openness and theological ambivalence. That’s a big move, especially because it’s being stated by an SBC theologian in public.

Sure, another step might be: acceptance and promotion. So we haven’t gotten to “acceptance” per se, at least not in public. But that isn’t necessary in the end from someone like Ken Keathley, who is in such an influential position.

Has he changed his opinions? If so, how? Is he no longer an old-earth creationist?

He was just using Dawkins as an exemplar of evolutionary biologists, without regard to their possible religious views. You are making excuses for this fellow.

Incidentally, you might provide some background on this person, especially for those who, you should pardon the expression, don’t know him from Adam.

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Yeah, I can’t figure out much about who this guy is, either. His article is something of an intellectual disaster. He seems to have a severe prejudice against scientists, or he wouldn’t be saying those asinine things about science resting upon presuppositions, and his remarks about how one must have a strong commitment to “doctrine” mark him as a profoundly sloppy and careless thinker when it comes to the natural world, where “doctrines” have no role at all. If he’s associated with BioLogos, my opinion of them just dropped a couple of notches.

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