YEC and its critics: is there a way forward?

Openly to @PDPrice and all, I am just wondering if there is a way forward. We will not likely change any minds here, and they will not change ours (though I have definitely learned from this group in various ways). Is it always to be stalemate, will every discussion end polarized? If we are only making enemies and stirring up trouble in an otherwise content evolutionary camp, then should we abandon the discussion, or what is our end-game anyway? Sometimes I rather think they miss us when we are gone - they like to sharpen their knives and axes using us as the grinding material. Back around to the opening sentence - is there a way forward? What does it look like?

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There’s an easy way forward. Take the time to learn about the actual scientific topics under discussion so you can comment on them intelligently. Quit trying just to “win” at all costs for your tribe.

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Newsflash, my tribe has already won. I am just out here discussing and learning about yours.

LOL! Boasting about how smart you are is so much easier than actually learning the science. :slightly_smiling_face:

I read many of the discussions that occur here with bemusement and wonder why many of the participants are here and what they hope to accomplish. I think you are absolutely right that if we think if it as “sides”, “convincing” and “winning” very little of use is likely to occur.

However if we all come to understand and learn, without any thought of winning, I think the goals of peaceful science are much more likely to be achieved, and frankly as Christian, its much more likely that God’s love will be apparent through us.

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See, it is just that right there. (Oh, by the way, thanks for the comment, not bad). But you say you are Unconflicted Can I meddle just a little bit? What in the Sam Hill are you going to tell God when you stand before him and just possibly it turns out that it did matter all along what you believe regarding his creation account. Asked another way - do you seriously think that if God created animals in a moment’s time that he truly couldn’t care less if you change up the story? [apology for meddling I am not trying to fight Not in the mood this morning]

Your language is inflammatory. I for one will not be reading your VERY LARGE paste.

I’m just about to head outside to enjoy what might be the last nice fall weekend day of the year, so I’m going to post and run.

First “Unconflicted” was assigned by @swamidass not myself. I couldn’t think of anything better as after 25 years of being convinced the science demonstrated an old earth and life, but the Bible taught YEC, I’ve come to see there are other ways of interpreting the Biblical passages that remain true to it being the Inspired Word of God.

I come from a Christian background where I, and the Christian’s around me were very certain about specific interpretations of the Bible (including YEC), and frankly making mountains of molehills when it came to those interpretations.

Over the last number of years, I’ve come to understand that while the core message of the Bible is clear, there are many places where Christian’s will have to agree to disagree. In most cases these are places where all of the Christians are attempting to add a layer of interpretation on top of the specific words of the Bible. That certainly doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t search to understand the meaning, but we I figure it was something God wanted clear he would have made it so.

For me the how and when we were created falls into that category. I am very sympathetic to a YEC interpretation. However as I’ve now come to understand there are other interpretations that faithful to an inspired Word of God, I lean towards an interpretation that aligns with that science. I think the science is clear, but would never argue with anyone who believes in a YEC interpretation, other than that YEC cannot be supported from science (which doesn’t make YEC wrong).

So to summarize by long winded answer. I absolutely believe that God could have instantaneously created the universe or parts of it 6000ish years ago. I lean towards a belief that isn’t how and when he did it. Given that I don’t believe it’s perfectly clear in the Bible, I don’t think it’s something God really cares to much about what we think. I think he’s more worried about how we love and treat the people around us that he has created.

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Well, I read your post and I am thanking you for it. You sound sincere. I am re-reading it now. Thanks for the polite thoughts about YEC. They have more going for them than people think and I am trying to get the word out to those who will listen. Maybe you are one of those.

Would you argue with someone who misrepresented the evidence itself, while pretending that this was all just a matter of interpretation?

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Great question. I would like to see the answer. Because we all run into people like that.

I’m inside for a quick lunch so I’ll answer this before I head back out.

As a general point, I refuse to argue about anything. If someone is interested in an honest exchange of views, I’m happy to discuss but arguing to me implies trying to convince someone they are wrong, who isn’t interested in changing. I’d rather to bang my head against the wall.

But to address my specific comment that you picked up on. What I meant in my comment was that I won’t argue with YEC from a theological stand point. In my view YEC is a reasonable theology, and therefore I would never attempt to convince anyone to abandon this theology. I will only point out that I don’t believe it is any way supported by science. The interpretation I was referring to was theological not scientific.

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You are not going change any minds when you accuse Christians who accept evolution with having unrighteous motivation.

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My way forward is to use PS as a learning resource.

When I check, and one topic has 100 new posts in it, then I already know that it is mostly pointless squabbling and there is very little to learn from that “conversation”. If I want a yelling match, I should go to a football game instead of reading an Internet forum.

This is why you see it ending in stalemate. You are not here to learn; you are only here to win for your tribe.

I guess it is human nature. People argue at great length over unimportant things.

For me, the question is simple. Assuming common descent helps me make better sense of the world around me. It provides a coherent picture where the parts fit together very well. If I took the YEC view, I would have a world described by a whole bunch of isolated facts, with no good overall picture.

If I think back to what life was like at the time Genesis was written, then people’s lives were very different from the way that we live today. The YEC way of thinking was probably a pretty good way of making sense of the world at that time. It isn’t a fault of Genesis, that it cannot be used as the textbook for a modern biology class. It was never intended to be used that way.

My way forward is to continue to learn where there is an opportunity, and to try to avoid getting into pointless arguments.

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You are pretty much admitting that you see your God as a petty tyrant.

So are you also implying that Young Earth Creationists should be fearful that when they stand in judgment, they may learn that they are accountable for how they regarded the creation account?

Obviously, anybody with even rudimentary rhetorical skills can try to use the ol’ what-if hypothetical you have introduced here. The tactic is just a variation on the logic fallacy, “But what if you are wrong and I’m right? What then?” Do you really want to use that kind of argument?

And asked yet another way:
Do you seriously think that if God created animals through evolutionary processes over millions of years that he truly couldn’t care less if you change up the story?

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I sort of agree here. My thoughts are whether the Bible contains stories is not important. The Torah could simply be a story of how God is reconciling back humans to Him. The brilliance in the Bible is the interconnectedness of the 66 books.

On the other hand I don’t think science can rule out Genesis at this point. There are issues with the evolutionary story. There are also solutions like @swamidass GAE model.

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Well put. I have essentially the same view on this. That’s why I get along quite well with my YEC friends. It is only when they repeat science misrepresentations and quote-mines they find at origins ministry websites that we have more serious disagreements.

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Er Bill, science ruled out a literal Genesis over 200 years ago. If the 21st century is too tough can you at least make it into the 20th? :slightly_smiling_face:

This needs to be defined.

Science does not have the ability to rule anything our as it is always tentative.