YECs and the GAE

I think it shows that YECs like Nelson will resist GAE much more strongly than you have been supposing.

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It doesn’t show this at all.

I’ve agreed from the beginning that professional YECs will resist it.

However, and this remains true, there will also be much of their base which will be far more accepting.

Just give it time.


Perhaps. Do you have any examples so far of YECs who have entertained GAE?

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Yes. This is Groundhog Day though. We’ve covered this before, many times, with the big caveat that some of this can’t be fully in public yet. Just give it time.

To jog your memory, see this: Jeremy Smith: I Disagree with Dr. Swamidass

And to warn you, Marcus Ross (The next review) does not like the GAE. But that isn’t a surprise.


Can any of it be fully in public yet, at least the extent that PS is public?

Here is a question for you.

Suppose a YEC finds the GAE attractive and acceptable, so much so that they no longer feel YEC is necessary or even their personal position.

Is that YEC still a YEC?

If so, why? If not, aren’t you asking for a square circle?

No. And what??

@John_Harshman It was almost 10 years between the time (c.2007) Intelligent Design peaked and the AiG Creation Museum opened to when I started noticing a large number of Christians stepping forward to support science and their faith. I expect it will take longer for the full effect of GAE to be known, because the YEC community is very insular.

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If a YEC finds the GAE attractive and acceptable, such that they change their position from confident YEC to adopting the GAE, by your definition, they are no longer YEC. So, by definition (yours), it is impossible to find any YECs that adopt the GAE. Such a thing would be a square circle. A logical contradiction.

More frequently, they would become an old-earth agnostic with remaining scientific. Same problem applies here. That is no longer a YEC, by your definition. So by definition, they are not a YEC that likes the GAE.

The sort of evidence you are looking for seems to be a logical contradiction.

Perhaps what you mean to look for is people who used to be YEC, but are no longer confident YEC, or are no longer YEC. Whatever the case, you need to think through more carefully what precise evidence you are looking for, because essentializing YEC the way you are doesn’t work so well.

In my view, YECs are defined by “Scriptural Realism”, and the GAE shows how a Scriptural Realist can hold to an old earth with a young Adam and Eve. Scriptural Realism is far more essential to their identity and belief structure than the age of the earth. By this definition, they can remain YEC, even as they come to affirm an old earth (and even evolution). The GAE doesn’t force them out of their beliefs, but shows how these beliefs can be realized in alignment with the natural world.

In your view, it seems, the key thing is their belief in a young earth. Certainly that is true of some, but for most “age of the earth” seems to me to be merely an alterable appendage extending from a wholly different foundation of “Scriptural Realism.” Of course, we can also consider ex-YECs too, by your definition.

I agree.

It is just very recently that YEC leaders began engaging with us. I suspect they will avoid engaging with us for as long as possible. When they do engage in depth, it may come in a rush. So it might be something of a phase transition.

Key event ahead is the Symposium on the GAE at the Evangelical Theological Society this fall, which is largely YEC theologians and exegetes. I won’t give away the details, but respondents are @Andrew_Loke, @kkeathley, William Lane Craig, and Richard Averbeck. We are all aligned in wanting to present YECs with a better option than a blanket “no” to mainstream science. If YEC scholars start to take my invitation to engage with the GAE, just as a thought experiment, that could alter the conversation over the next couple years.

They don’t even have to reject YEC and adopt the GAE as a personal belief. I just want them to empathetically enter the thought experiment with us, and start figuring out, “okay, if this was true, it wouldn’t be such a big deal; and this is something very different (and far more acceptable) than EC/TE.” After all, its just a thought experiment. Why not enter in?

If that happens in the ETS community (as it already has with many individual scholars), well it’s the beginning of the end for that cultish version of YECism. Perhaps there will still be YECs in the world, but not with the same institutionalized virulence we so often see.

That’s what I think could happen. It will take time, but it might happen quicker than you think.


And to be clear, I expect the resistance will be fierce.

I’m not sure what gave you the impression I thought professional YECs will like these changes. They won’t.

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That uncharitable reading of my question doesn’t seem appropriate for peaceful science. I think you knew what I was saying. Do you really think I would ask for a logical contradiction?

Exactly. And I think that was clear.

In my view, YECs are defined by 1) thinking the world is only a few thousand years old — that’s the “YE” part — and 2) believing in separately created “kinds”, humans in particular — that’s the “C” part. GAE requires disposing of both 1 and 2, leaving only two people as specialy created recently. Of course one can’t remain YEC and accept GAE. To say otherwise is to abandon the meanings of words entirely.

Now what you’re really saying is that what’s important to YECs isn’t in fact YEC but “Scriptural Realism”, which may be true, but please don’t debase meaning when you make that point.

So have any YECs been persuaded to become ex-YECs by your book? Any that you are free to mention?

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Well it was not clear to me. That sort of thing exists.

One thing you could do is ask people you see that show up what their view of origins was in the past, and what helped them shift.

What I’m really saying is that the YEC camp mighr mislabeled. They should really be called the Scriptural Realist camp. :slight_smile:

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What in your previous experience of me suggests that I would indulge in such a transparently dishonest “gotcha”?

I don’t think you were engaging in a gotcha. I thought you had some unreasonable standard of evidence, perhaps that was not visible to you.

3 posts were merged into an existing topic: Comments on Nelson’s Review of GAE

I’d like to know how you define “scriptural realism.”

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Good question. I explain in this article, and include a reference too: S. Joshua Swamidass: The Rejoinder for the Sapientia Symposium.

Thanks! I see it here: “This finding makes space for “Scriptural Realism;” the impression of most Christians in history that Genesis 1–11 intends to teach a real history of real people in a real past. This is a central concern of the historical-grammatical approach to Genesis held by young earth creationists, like Marcus Ross and others.”

I still haven’t finished your book, eek - but I will and give a review. Since the book posed this question about literalism, I did have to ask myself why would I not consider GAE to be an option. It isn’t just literalism, as I explained in an earlier thread. It’s also about Jesus’ character and I think, maybe this sounds odd for a Christian to say - Occam’s razor. It would force me to read into new testament passages as well as into Genesis, meanings that aren’t simple or obvious. Spiritually there’s a tug: I can make science complex because human interpretations are flawed and not inspired, but I can’t in scripture because it is inspired. I think you’ll run across this in a debate too. But I’ll give you a full review once I finish the book.

Btw, all the arguments I see here seems to be saying that you can’t debate or dialogue with another Christian because the only thing up for interpretation or debate is the Bible. The biggest thing I’ve learned about science in the last few months is that’s an absolutely ridiculous idea. Otherwise we’d still believe the sun revolved around the earth. :joy:

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GAE is all about dialogue with other Christians. Where did you get the idea that it was the other way around?

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