I want AIG creationists on my jury!

| 57 Comments

For my sins I’m on the Answers in Genesis mailing list due to having given them a valid (though not primary) email address when a group of PTers went on a field trip to the Creationist Museum a couple of summers ago. (See here for a comprehensive links list to critiques of the museum.) In addition to offers of books, DVDs and 10% off specials on stuff like “Ancient Civilizations & the Bible - Full Family Curriculum Pack,” I get a weekly dose of creationist apologetics.

As I read those apologetics missives, one message is loud and clear. The core of AIG’s message is that one must choose one’s presuppositions and thereafter interpret the evidence in the light of those presuppositions. The creationist museum makes that very clear. An early display has two paleontologists digging in what looks like a sand pit, with one of them, the kindly-looking creationist, explaining that he and his evolutionist friend (who looks vaguely Asian and never speaks) use the same evidence, but that they interpret it from different starting points, Biblical creationism and “man’s reason.” Hence each interprets the evidence to support his presuppositions; the evidence is not a tool for testing presuppositions and assumptions, it is interpreted through their lenses.

Georgia Purdom, creationist geneticist in the employ of Answers in Genesis, is also very clear about it. She says

I had a friendly “debate” with a gentleman afterwards concerning the merits of presuppositionalism vs. evidentialism. This person believed there was “neutral ground” where evolutionists and creationists can debate the evidence and that the evidentialist approach was better to use with non-Christians. I tried to help him see that neutral ground does not exist because both sides have presuppositions–creationists start with the authority of the Word of God and evolutionists start with the authority of human reasoning. If we as creationists agree to “leave the Bible out of it,” then we are starting with the same presuppositions as the evolutionists and will not be effective.

The Institute for Creation Research has the same approach. John Pieret pointed to Henry Morris, III, CEO of ICR these days, saying

We are forensically interpreting the data based on our presupposition. The evolutionists do the same thing. They have a presupposition that there is no supernatural intervention of any kind. We have a presupposition that there is supernatural intervention in the past, not in the present.

You reckon Henry watches CSI:Creationism?

Now, the presupposition of the U.S. justice system is (purportedly) that one is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. But if we adopt the AIG/ICR philosophical/apologetic position regarding presuppositions, no amount of evidence that seems to support guilt can alter the presumption of innocence. Hence if I’m ever charged with a crime, I want AIG creationists on the jury: I’m guaranteed an acquittal, because, you see, evidence doesn’t count in evaluating presuppositions! And doing CSI becomes infinitely easier: Decide who’s guilty beforehand and simply interpret the evidence appropriately.

57 Comments

Ken Ham has stated this approach in several of his videos. He refers to it as “putting on your Bible glasses.” You start with the Bible and fit everything to it.

The other “luminary” who has said exactly the same thing?

None other than Dr. Dr. William Dembski!

How amazing.

Ahem…

“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

U.S. justice system be damned, the presupposition of the Creationist is that you are a filthy, rotten sinner, and you did it.

HP said:

Ahem…

“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

U.S. justice system be damned, the presupposition of the Creationist is that you are a filthy, rotten sinner, and you did it.

Well, then, the same basic point holds: No trial necessary: accusation is tantamount to conviction. Hm. Do we know about legal systems that work that way?

And it follows from that view that no Christian should ever be acquitted, hm?

Creationists start with the authority of the Word of God and evolutionists start with the authority of human reasoning. If we as creationists agree to “leave the Bible out of it,” then we are starting with the same presuppositions as the evolutionists and will not be effective.

Hmmm.

Wikipedia lists 59 major “flavors” creation stories.

That apparently means that you could put 59 creationists, who all start with basically the same “presupposition”, that God Did It, in one room and still get 59 different, distinct, answers, mutually exclusive to the point of hostility, possibly war.

Meanwhile, if you were to assemble 59 individuals from all different countries and cultures, who has somehow never heard of evolution but were united in skepticism and the inclination to demand physical evidence, and present the objective case for evolution and the “case” for the 59 creation myths, I guarantee that you’d end up with 59 people picking the same thing.

Oh wait - that experiment has already been run, with basically the entire scientific establishment of the world in the last quarter of the 19th century, all those men and women, all those disparate countries and cultures, converging on one answer.

Go figger.

you are a filthy, rotten sinner, and you did it.

Sadly, a review of my old pictures reveals that I didn’t do nearly enough sinning back in the day.

Do we know about legal systems that work that way?

Well, RBH, if you sink in water, you’re innocent. Welcome to Heaven! If you float, on the other hand …

And it follows from that view that no Christian should ever be acquitted, hm?

No True Christian™ has ever been accused of a crime. If you have been accused of a crime, you cannot be a True Christian™. And you probably put sugar on your oatmeal.

Slightly off-topic. I have been wading through a bunch of YEC gobbledy-gook lately trying to learn the faulty geologic arguments (particularly the Hovind-isms discussed in the Talk Origins archive) and the corresponding realities.** I noticed that a lot of the creationist claims get published in their own “journal(s).”

It got me to wondering what would happen if one of us actual scientists synthesized a research paper that illustrates clear evidence that has long-ago debunked arguments that support one of the “presuppositions” and submitted it to a creationist journal. Obviously it would be rejected, but then wouldn’t it be fun to take the “Expelled” approach and cry, “foul!” and try to get all sorts of media attention for it? On the other hand, maybe it would be a waste of time…

**The most entertaining thing about these is that there are several different ages given depending on whatever claim is being made. I was surprised to see that dates on the order of 20 million years could still qualify as “Young Earth” despite the fact that this would run considerably afoul of the “inerrant” stories in Genesis.

It seems to me that the only person who would take such a position is someone who knows full well that all of the evidence is against him. Maybe that is why creationists steadfaastly refuse to search for any evidence or even examine any evidence that anyone else has found.

Of course this is the absolute opposite of real science. Anyone who claims that scientists interpret the evidence according to their presuppositions has obviously never actually done science. The entire enterprise is really just a concerted effort to overcome presuppositions, biases and prejudice. If one fails in that effort then one will be firmly corrected. That is the real reason why creationists never publish in real scientific journals.

KP said:

debunked arguments that support one of the “presuppositions” and submitted it to a creationist journal. Obviously it would be rejected, but then wouldn’t it be

I should add that to emphasize relevance and slightly decrease the chance of immediate dismissal, the paper could take the tone of trying to lend clarity, sensu the AiG section about “arguments creationists shouldn’t use.”

Presuppositionalism is the creation science of epistemology

stevaroni said:

Sadly, a review of my old pictures reveals that I didn’t do nearly enough sinning back in the day.

Sigh, too true. If there is a judgement day I will be damned not merely for being godless but also for being so terribly boring. “We condemn you for being about as exciting as a glass of warm milk.”

I think it was once said of George Bernard Shaw: “He cut a swathe through the theatre and left it strewn with virgins.”

Cheers – MrG / http://www.vectorsite.net/gblog.html

I understand the legal application, and it sounds good to me - if I’m presupposed incapable of shooting anyone, and therefore all evidence must be interpreted in this light (and as creationists have demonstrated, if it cannot possibly be interpreted that way it simply doesn’t exist), there are a few people I’d be inclined to shoot.

What amuses me is, creationists not only assume their religious conclusions, they simply cannot conceive of arriving at conclusions impacting their religion any other way. So the evidence is only consistent with some incongenial explanation? It can ONLY be because some unbeliever forced the evidence to fit a wrong presupposition.

And in fact, I’ve seen the argument made (against science) that if you do NOT know the “right” answer before you start, how can you ever be absolutely sure the evidence you’ve found is pointing you in the right direction? You might actually be in error! The reply that science is frequently in error, and additional evidence is constantly honing scientific theory, is regarded as admission of weakness. You ADMIT that you might be wrong? Believers never need to do that, becuase it can’t happen. Presuppositioons prevent this. (But note that where scientific investigation doesn’t threaten their faith, the notion of being more nearly correct the more you learn poses no problems)

Equally amusing is how tightly compartmentalized this is in the creationist mind. They use logical inference from available evidence every waking moment of their lives, and wouldn’t be able to function at all otherwise. Some of them (engineers I’ve worked with) apply truly rigorous application of inference to evidence, demanding that even speculation about what’s going on be based on available evidence and underlying knowledge, contradicting none of it. Yet mention their faith, and all these lifelong thought habits vanish with chilling totality. Suddenly, the evidence means what it MUST mean, no matter how obviously it does not.

So RBH has, in my opinion, generalized a bit too much. These folks use presupposition to arrive at only religious conclusions. Where their faith is not threatened, they’re no less capable of understanding or reasoning from evidence as anyone else. I often think creationists harbor a deep unarticulated suspicion that evidence is profoundly dangerous to their faith; it simply must be neutralized. Which isn’t very hard when the need is so urgent.

They have a presupposition that there is no supernatural intervention of any kind. We have a presupposition that there is supernatural intervention in the past, not in the present.

Hmmm. This apologetic quip appears to be useless.

ID/Creationists presume there is supernatural intervention without any evidence whatsoever. But then they can’t do any science with that.

Scientists lack the same evidence for supernatural intervention and also observe the centuries of sectarian warfare that still has not settled the issue. So they shift their attention to working with the evidence they do have and make lots of progress with no apologies.

I’d say there is quite a difference in the results.

I’ve always wanted to ask with Ken Ham: Imagine if a meteor struck, say, in central New Jersey, and within a week, within a mile radius from the strike, suddenly there were thousands of new species of animals, plants, insects, creatures different from anything seen before. It’s clearly from the meteor impact, and it’s all verified by real biologists. We evolutionists would be forced – FORCED – to reevaluate what caused the appearance of new species throughout history. Tell me, Ken, ONE event that would force you to evaluate your “presupposition”.

HP said:

Ahem…

“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

U.S. justice system be damned, the presupposition of the Creationist is that you are a filthy, rotten sinner, and you did it.

You did it, you laughed when you did it, and you’re going to do it again.

creationists start with the authority of the Word of God and evolutionists start with the authority of human reasoning.…We are forensically interpreting the data based on our presupposition. The evolutionists do the same thing.

The ultimate absurdity of this dippy argument was that the founders of evolution were very much biased towards a “presupposition of the authority of the Word of God” and “a presupposition that there is supernatural intervention in the past”.

It bears repeating over and over and over, the scientists who discovered evolution were devoutly religious men that fervently believed in God.

Many of them had profound crises of faith as they struggled to reconcile the evidence in front of them with a biblical story that didn’t match reality.

The problem isn’t that people with a religious presupposition can’t objectively evaluate the evidence. It’s that when the honest ones do it they eventually discover their presuppositions are wrong and the emperor has no clothes.

Isn’t that the way people naturally learn? They look at any evidence presented to them, accept or reject what supports their presuppositions, and move forward ever strongly in their beliefs since they now have additional support for their beliefs. It doesn’t matter that there might be evidence to the contrary since it doesn’t fit into their world view.

PT in January wrote about Wise the creationist: http://pandasthumb.org/archives/200[…]reation.html

This is exactly what you’re talking about, isn’t it? It is a clash of world views, and if the general public overwhelmingly believes in a flat earth, then the earth is indeed flat and that’s what will be taught. We might not come to that, yet this continual struggle of world views will never end.

Sadly, a review of my old pictures reveals that I didn’t do nearly enough sinning back in the day.

My hairstyle then was pretty much a mortal sin, looking at it now. But at least I had more hair.

I would hope so. Jury selection is exactly what you are talking about. Each side get to question the jurists and attempt to cull out people who will interpret the facts from the innocent or guilty perspective. But make no mistake about it…a side WILL be chosen, because the person believes there is only one reality. But the juries verdict doesn’t change reality either.

Even if evidences depend on theories they do not necessarily depend on the theories being tested or checked. Scientists can rely on theories accepted by both sides of the dispute. Both he proponents of the theory of phlogiston and the proponents of the theory of oxygen, for example, agreed on one fact: there was an increase in mass during calcination. They accepted the theory that a balance measures mass. Creationists accept many laws of physics. So these laws can be used as evidence to support the radioactive dating to the age of the Earth, for just one example. Finally, it is important to say that even if a scientist accept “supranatural explanations”, the problem is that these explanations do not have predictive power. It doesn’t help to say “The plane flies because God wants.” Maybe, that’s true, but that’s not sufficient: we must discover the physical laws to build airplanes so that they can fly.

stevaroni said:

Creationists start with the authority of the Word of God and evolutionists start with the authority of human reasoning. If we as creationists agree to “leave the Bible out of it,” then we are starting with the same presuppositions as the evolutionists and will not be effective.

Hmmm.

Wikipedia lists 59 major “flavors” creation stories.

That apparently means that you could put 59 creationists, who all start with basically the same “presupposition”, that God Did It, in one room and still get 59 different, distinct, answers, mutually exclusive to the point of hostility, possibly war.

Meanwhile, if you were to assemble 59 individuals from all different countries and cultures, who has somehow never heard of evolution but were united in skepticism and the inclination to demand physical evidence, and present the objective case for evolution and the “case” for the 59 creation myths, I guarantee that you’d end up with 59 people picking the same thing.

Oh wait - that experiment has already been run, with basically the entire scientific establishment of the world in the last quarter of the 19th century, all those men and women, all those disparate countries and cultures, converging on one answer.

Go figger.

Please copy that on Talk.Origins so I can nominate it for Post of the Month.

That “convergence, neither sought nor fabricated” is exactly what Pope John Paul II (not exactly an atheist!) had in mind in his famous 1996 statement about evolution. Meanwhile, 150 years of deliberate seeking and fabricating of anti-evolution nonsense has resulted in nothing but divergence into “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Richard B. Hoppe Wrote:

Now, the presupposition of the U.S. justice system is (purportedly) that one is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. But if we adopt the AIG/ICR philosophical/apologetic position regarding presuppositions, no amount of evidence that seems to support guilt can alter the presumption of innocence. Hence if I’m ever charged with a crime, I want AIG creationists on the jury: I’m guaranteed an acquittal, because, you see, evidence doesn’t count in evaluating presuppositions! And doing CSI becomes infinitely easier: Decide who’s guilty beforehand and simply interpret the evidence appropriately.

Am I the only one to notice that AIG conveniently ignored the ID strategy in their “us vs. the ‘Darwinists’” rant? While ID is just as bad as science and theology as YEC (and the ~58 other brands of creationism), it is far slicker as a strategy. Because it takes no position on the designer’s identity or “what happened when,” it can pretend to be as objective as evolution. But only to those who have either concluded their particular long-falsified version of natural history or have become hopelessly postmodern in their thinking.

Frank J said: While ID is just as bad as science and theology as YEC (and the ~58 other brands of creationism), it is far slicker as a strategy. Because it takes no position on the designer’s identity…

Intelligent design creationism takes no official / open / public position on the designer’s identity…

But everybody knows Who they really mean [wink wink nudge nudge]. Particularly when they are talking to (or soliciting money from) True Believers™.

So, if my faith says ‘Every Villian Is Lemons’ - EVIL - and you push a bit of zinc and a bit of copper into a lemon, and it lights a bulb, I just shrug and say “Nope. Not possible.”

Or do I say “It’s a trick from the Fruit Demon”.

Or do I say “Your bias just makes you THINK the bulb is being lit”.

Or do I say “We should teach about both electrodes AND the EVIL Fruit Demon, and let young kids decide.”

Or do I say “.…?

Something worth bearing in mind is that, if events had occurred as described in the bible, then the evidence objectively considered would be consistent with the bible, and scientists, historians and biblical literalists would all agree. This presuppositionalism is in itself an admission of defeat; you can only see things as consistent with text X by insisting that text X is true, and anyone who doesn’t start with text X will never come to your conclusion.

Paul Burnett Wrote:

Intelligent design creationism takes no official / open / public position on the designer’s identity…

But everybody knows Who they really mean [wink wink nudge nudge]. Particularly when they are talking to (or soliciting money from) True Believers™.

But they don’t really try to keep that a secret from non-TB’s either, especially after “Expelled.” Of course when they are feeding the TB’s habit (and separating them from their $) I doubt that they go out of their way to remind them that Michael Behe admitted under oath at Dover that the designer might be deceased.

Stephen Wells Wrote:

Something worth bearing in mind is that, if events had occurred as described in the bible, then the evidence objectively considered would be consistent with the bible, and scientists, historians and biblical literalists would all agree.

But it could only converge on one of the mutually contradictory “literal” interpretations, so there would probably still be dissenters. And like today’s anti-evolutionists, they would mostly cover up their own irreconcilable differences and unite against the mainstream position.

For my sins I’m on the Answers in Genesis mailing list

So am I Richard. I thought they would send me behind the scenes stories about AiG. Instead, it’s the same stuff that appears on their website. Still, at least it’s not as as bad as the spam I get.

This would make a good storyline for one of the CSI shows !

I tried to help him see that neutral ground does not exist because both sides have presuppositions–creationists start with the authority of the Word of God and evolutionists start with the authority of human reasoning. If we as creationists agree to “leave the Bible out of it,” then we are starting with the same presuppositions as the evolutionists and will not be effective.

I don’t get it. Here you have a creationist admitting that in order to be a creationist you have to abandon reason, logic, and rational thought. Why doesn’t the average person get that? Or maybe the person she said that to just silently thought, “Oh, you’re a loony, then.”

If she denies human reasoning is one of God’s gifts, one that gave us, oh, stuff like indoor plumbing, electricity, medicine, computers, and the like, maybe she should be hanging with William S. Burroughs and the “exterminate all rational thought” crowd.

Peter Henderson Wrote:

This would make a good storyline for one of the CSI shows !

How about “CSI Seattle” starring William Dembski. CSI would be “complex specified information,” and they would never catch the criminal because it’s not their task to “connect the dots.” So every show would conclude with “someone did it, but it doesn’t matter who, or where, when or how it happened, only that it wasn’t an accident.”

fnxtr said:

If she denies human reasoning is one of God’s gifts, one that gave us, oh, stuff like indoor plumbing, electricity, medicine, computers, and the like, maybe she should be hanging with William S. Burroughs and the “exterminate all rational thought” crowd.

Um.. actually this is one bit of Abrahamic myth that I sort of like: Reason was NOT a gift from YHWH–we stole it. It’s the old Prometheus story all over again, but we didn’t need a divine hero to rescue us from ignorance. Instead, we rebelled on our own, defied even the deities who would have kept knowledge & reason from us. Humanity suffers as a result, but muddles along on it’s own strengths; I think we are doing rather well.

If some deity wants worship now, then (before we even consider coming to the table) it can bloody well reverse the curses placed on Adam & Eve. And the gods had best hurry, because we are well an our way to doing away with those curses all on our own.

J. L. Brown said:

fnxtr said:

If she denies human reasoning is one of God’s gifts, one that gave us, oh, stuff like indoor plumbing, electricity, medicine, computers, and the like, maybe she should be hanging with William S. Burroughs and the “exterminate all rational thought” crowd.

Um.. actually this is one bit of Abrahamic myth that I sort of like: Reason was NOT a gift from YHWH–we stole it. It’s the old Prometheus story all over again, but we didn’t need a divine hero to rescue us from ignorance. Instead, we rebelled on our own, defied even the deities who would have kept knowledge & reason from us. Humanity suffers as a result, but muddles along on it’s own strengths; I think we are doing rather well.

If some deity wants worship now, then (before we even consider coming to the table) it can bloody well reverse the curses placed on Adam & Eve. And the gods had best hurry, because we are well an our way to doing away with those curses all on our own.

Actually I’ve heard of some interpretations identifying Lucifer (Light-bringer) with Prometheus (who stole FIRE from the gods for man). Neither act was well-received by the god in charge. Also wasn’t it Prometheus who supposedly hid “hope” in Pandora’s box to foil the Greek gods’ general fucking with humanity?

Maybe it’d be easier to make sense of the bible if you consider it’s got a Villain Protagonist :P

J. L. Brown said:

fnxtr said:

If she denies human reasoning is one of God’s gifts, one that gave us, oh, stuff like indoor plumbing, electricity, medicine, computers, and the like, maybe she should be hanging with William S. Burroughs and the “exterminate all rational thought” crowd.

Um.. actually this is one bit of Abrahamic myth that I sort of like: Reason was NOT a gift from YHWH–we stole it. It’s the old Prometheus story all over again, but we didn’t need a divine hero to rescue us from ignorance. Instead, we rebelled on our own, defied even the deities who would have kept knowledge & reason from us. Humanity suffers as a result, but muddles along on it’s own strengths; I think we are doing rather well.

If some deity wants worship now, then (before we even consider coming to the table) it can bloody well reverse the curses placed on Adam & Eve. And the gods had best hurry, because we are well an our way to doing away with those curses all on our own.

I think this is a misreading of the text. The Genesis narrative has Adam and Eve eating not from the “tree of knowledge” but from the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” The distinction is important – the desire to know good and evil can be understood as wanting equality with the Almighty, and knowing good and evil removes any excuse for doing evil rather than good. My understanding is that this section of the Genesis narrative is about loss of innocence and the beginning of accountability for one’s actions.

Fair enough.

Then “human reason” is from the Evil One, and we should still be waiting for lightning to strike in order to have fire to keep the wolves away.

The bottom line is that in order to go along with the creationist three wheeled wagon…inquiry, investigation, logic and evidence has to be completely ignored. You start by assuming god and you end by ‘proving’ god.

This has been admitted by almost every mouth piece for Creationism in living memory.

Methinks that must be the chink in their dubious armor of belief. If every debate begun with that qualifier then the premise is their millstone…they will drown…but probably not quick enough!

PZ Myers On Presuppositions

I once was asked by a creationist what my presuppositions were. I knew I probably had some, but I could not put them into words. I now use the following from PZ Myers when asked what my presuppositions are:

“It’s true, I do have some presuppositions. I think that explanations should deal with as much of the evidence as possible; they should avoid contradictions, both internal and with the evidence from the physical world; they should be logical; they should make predictions that can be tested; they should have some utility in addressing new evidence.”

From http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/[…]ivalence.php

One of the most direct statements on presuppositions from Answers in Genesis: http://www.answersingenesis.org/cre[…]/forward.asp. Most moderate Christians do not agree that what follows is science. I use this text to refute creationists who claim their beliefs are based on evidence.

“The authority of the Bible is the main emphasis of Answers in Genesis. We don’t try to ‘prove’ the Bible with science; rather, we accept the Bible’s propositions as true without proof, i.e. as axioms or presuppositions.

All philosophical systems, not just Christianity, start with axioms. There are good reasons for accepting the axioms of Scripture as true, because it can be shown that they lead to a consistent view of physical and moral reality, which other axioms can’t provide.

Genesis contains a number of Hebrew grammatical features that show it was intended to teach a straightforward history of the world from its creation. Genesis, backed up by the rest of Scripture, unambiguously teaches that:2

The heavens, Earth and everything in them were created in six consecutive normal days, the same as those of our working week (Exodus 20:8–11).

Earth is about 6,000 years old, since Jesus said mankind was there from the ‘beginning of creation’, not billions of years later (Mark 10:6).

Adam sinned and brought physical death to mankind (Romans 5:12–19; 1 Corinthians 15:21–22).

Since man was the federal head of creation, the whole creation was cursed (Romans 8:20–22), which included death to animals, with the end of the original vegetarian diet for both humans and animals (Genesis 1:29–30).

God judged the world by a globe-covering Flood, which Jesus and Peter compared with the coming Judgment (Luke 17:26–27; 2 Peter 3:3–7). This destroyed all land vertebrate animals and people not on the ocean-liner-sized Ark.

God then judged the people by confusing their language at Babel—after they had refused to spread out and repopulate the Earth after the Flood.

Using this framework It’s important to realize that all ‘facts’ of science do not speak for themselves, but are interpreted within a framework.

Evolutionists start with the axiom of naturalism or materialism, i.e. God (if He even exists) performed no miraculous acts of creation.

Biblical creationists interpret the same facts and observations, but within the framework outlined above.”

Edwin Hensley said:

One of the most direct statements on presuppositions from Answers in Genesis: http://www.answersingenesis.org/cre[…]/forward.asp. Most moderate Christians do not agree that what follows is science. I use this text to refute creationists who claim their beliefs are based on evidence.

“The authority of the Bible is the main emphasis of Answers in Genesis. We don’t try to ‘prove’ the Bible with science; rather, we accept the Bible’s propositions as true without proof, i.e. as axioms or presuppositions.

All philosophical systems, not just Christianity, start with axioms. There are good reasons for accepting the axioms of Scripture as true, because it can be shown that they lead to a consistent view of physical and moral reality, which other axioms can’t provide.

Genesis contains a number of Hebrew grammatical features that show it was intended to teach a straightforward history of the world from its creation. Genesis, backed up by the rest of Scripture, unambiguously teaches that:2

The heavens, Earth and everything in them were created in six consecutive normal days, the same as those of our working week (Exodus 20:8–11).

Earth is about 6,000 years old, since Jesus said mankind was there from the ‘beginning of creation’, not billions of years later (Mark 10:6).

Adam sinned and brought physical death to mankind (Romans 5:12–19; 1 Corinthians 15:21–22).

Since man was the federal head of creation, the whole creation was cursed (Romans 8:20–22), which included death to animals, with the end of the original vegetarian diet for both humans and animals (Genesis 1:29–30).

God judged the world by a globe-covering Flood, which Jesus and Peter compared with the coming Judgment (Luke 17:26–27; 2 Peter 3:3–7). This destroyed all land vertebrate animals and people not on the ocean-liner-sized Ark.

God then judged the people by confusing their language at Babel—after they had refused to spread out and repopulate the Earth after the Flood.

Using this framework It’s important to realize that all ‘facts’ of science do not speak for themselves, but are interpreted within a framework.

Evolutionists start with the axiom of naturalism or materialism, i.e. God (if He even exists) performed no miraculous acts of creation.

Biblical creationists interpret the same facts and observations, but within the framework outlined above.”

Funny enough, creationists will readily accept and actively embrace the framework of naturalism to eat, walk to (and use) the bathroom, recognize and treat a wound, find clothing and get dressed, drive a car, etc., yet we “evolutionists” never have to address anything using the creationist framework.

AiG said:

God then judged the people by confusing their language at Babel—after they had refused to spread out and repopulate the Earth after the Flood.

This confuses me because I thought Noah’s sons spread out as widely as seemed possible for three men to do after the “Flood.”

Evolutionists start with the axiom of naturalism or materialism, i.e. God (if He even exists) performed no miraculous acts of creation.

What does “God” performing miracles have to do with evolution? Couldn’t one use naturalism to explain things currently happening in nature independently of whether or not any miracles happened in the past??

Edwin Hensley said:

One of the most direct statements on presuppositions from Answers in Genesis: http://www.answersingenesis.org/cre[…]/forward.asp. Most moderate Christians do not agree that what follows is science. I use this text to refute creationists who claim their beliefs are based on evidence.

“The authority of the Bible is the main emphasis of Answers in Genesis. We don’t try to ‘prove’ the Bible with science; rather, we accept the Bible’s propositions as true without proof, i.e. as axioms or presuppositions.

All philosophical systems, not just Christianity, start with axioms. There are good reasons for accepting the axioms of Scripture as true, because it can be shown that they lead to a consistent view of physical and moral reality, which other axioms can’t provide.

Using this framework It’s important to realize that all ‘facts’ of science do not speak for themselves, but are interpreted within a framework.

Evolutionists start with the axiom of naturalism or materialism, i.e. God (if He even exists) performed no miraculous acts of creation.

Biblical creationists interpret the same facts and observations, but within the framework outlined above.”

In thinking about this, I realized part of the problem here. “Naturalism” and “materialism” are not axioms/presuppositions. I’m sure that some of you are on the verge of typing, “Uhhh…no D’UH!”, but allow me to elaborate. Naturalism and materialism are underlying philosophies - similar or at least parallel in terms of concept to AIG’s “Christianity”. The presupposition underpinning literal Christianity (a la AIG’s brand of fundamentalism) is that the bible is literally authorative. So, to then compare naturalism/materialism to Christianity, naturalism/materialism must be underpinned by some presupposition and can’t be the presupposition on its own. Now, I won’t speak for anyone else, but I will freely confess that MY particular world philosophy is underpinned by the presupposition that there is a state called “death” and that it is a different state from that we call “living” and that for whatever reason I have a desire to avoid “death” and promote my “living”. It just so happens that I’ve found that empirically evaluating the world around me does a perfect job of helping me avoid “death” and promoting “living” and thus far I’ve found no evidence that fundamentalist Christianity provides any help in this regard whatsoever.

I tried to help him see that neutral ground does not exist because both sides have presuppositions–creationists start with the authority of the Word of God and evolutionists start with the authority of human reasoning. If we as creationists agree to “leave the Bible out of it,” then we are starting with the same presuppositions as the evolutionists and will not be effective.

One has to use human reasoning to draw a connection between “neutral ground does not exist” and “both sides have presuppositions.” You also need human reasoning to derive sentence 2 from sentence 1. So, ‘presuppositionalism’ is a reductio ad absurdem argument: the argument for biblical authority is predicated on a prior commitment to human reason and without it, the authoritarian argument can’t get off the ground.

I also think the presupposition argument is merely a distraction from the the essential point that creationism and ID have produced no research of value. You can hold any presupposition you want; nothing prevents you from doing research using them. If your presuppositions are better than mine, your research will advance faster. This is how science functions regarding new hypotheses - hold any you want, if yours turn out more accurate than mine, you’ll tend to discover more interesting things faster and cheaper than I will. The statement that scientists don’t share creationist presuppositions is about as relevant as stating that Ford does not share the presuppositions of Toyota. So what? The marketplace (of ideas) doesn’t care about your presuppositions, it only cares about the quality of your product. Creationists have none.

WRT the original post, it seems reasonable to conclude that most of O.J. Simpson’s original jury were creationists. Once you have established the “presupposition” that “racist” police had tampered with the evidence, then no possible evidence to the contrary could possible change that presupposition, since all evidence fits with the presupposition that “all evidence to the contrary is falsified”.

it seems reasonable to conclude that most of O.J. Simpson’s original jury were creationists. Once you have established the “presupposition” that “racist” police had tampered with the evidence, then no possible evidence to the contrary could possible change that presuppositio

Forget “supposition”, assume for a moment that a jury knew with absolute certainty that some evidence had been tampered with.

This is often actually the case with “white collar” criminal cases, things like civil suits over deals gone bad and political corruption trials. Cases where all sorts of people have all sorts of reasons for keeping certain things hidden.

It should still be possible for an honest jury to evaluate the individual pieces of evidence, and segregate them into piles for “likely tainted”, “likely untainted” and “unknown veracity”.

When they’re done, if there’s enough evidence in the “likely untainted” pile, and it’s of high enough quality, an honest jury should still be able to figure out the truth.

Likewise, a group of honest individuals with any conceivable “preconception” you might think of ought to be able to look at clearly measurable things and, well, measure them.

Buddhists, Zoroastrians, Pentecostals and Pastafarians will all get the same number for the acceleration of gravity.

If you’re honest creationist, you have to admit that things like radiocarbon dating certainly seem to falsify the assumption that the earth is only 600 years old, the total lack of geological evidence certainly seems falsify the assumption of the global flood, and the giant pile of odd, ancient bones which have been inconveniently streaming out of the earth for the last few centuries certainly seem to falsify the assumption that the biosphere was magically created in its present state sometime in the middle of the bronze age.

It has nothing to do with the presupposition you had going in to examine the evidence - it has everything to do with the honesty that you used once the things measure don’t show you what you thought they would.

stevaroni said:

If you’re honest creationist, you have to admit that things like radiocarbon dating certainly seem to falsify the assumption that the earth is only 600 years old, the total lack of geological evidence certainly seems falsify the assumption of the global flood, and the giant pile of odd, ancient bones which have been inconveniently streaming out of the earth for the last few centuries certainly seem to falsify the assumption that the biosphere was magically created in its present state sometime in the middle of the bronze age.

A minor point. Your average biblical-literalist YEC goes with Bishop Ussher’s dating and puts the week of creation as occurring about 4004 BCE. The earliest bronze age dates are about 3100 BCE. Some metals were being used before that, but they were apparently native, rather than smelted. Thus, creation is said by them to have occurred in the late Neolithic, rather than the Bronze Age. But by that time some humans had been using fired pottery and living in settled villages for about seven thousand years. Even the earliest cities - Jericho, for example - date back further than that.

Edwin Hensley said:

Since man was the federal head of creation, the whole creation was cursed (Romans 8:20–22), which included death to animals, with the end of the original vegetarian diet for both humans and animals (Genesis 1:29–30).

Has a creationist every tried to explain what a venus fly trap did before the fall? It’s not really equipped for grazing is it, so was it the first carnivore in creation?

Edwin Hensley said:

PZ Myers On Presuppositions

I once was asked by a creationist what my presuppositions were. I knew I probably had some, but I could not put them into words. I now use the following from PZ Myers when asked what my presuppositions are:

“It’s true, I do have some presuppositions. I think that explanations should deal with as much of the evidence as possible; they should avoid contradictions, both internal and with the evidence from the physical world; they should be logical; they should make predictions that can be tested; they should have some utility in addressing new evidence.”

From http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/[…]ivalence.php

I hate to break it to you, but compared to “The One True God Took Time Out Of His Busy Day To Create You And A World For You To Live In.”, you might as well just say “Blah blah blah blah blah…” to most creationists.

Creationists have a much easier job than us from a rhetorical perspective.

chuck Wrote:

Creationists have a much easier job than us from a rhetorical perspective.

Specifically, they can (1) select only the evidence they like and reject any that’s inconvenient, (2) define terms to suit the argument, (3) conflate separate concepts (e.g. evolution and aboigenesis), and (4) mine quotes to change the meaning. All with the chutzpah of pretending (and fooling most nonscientists) that they are “following the evidence where it leads.”

Myers may presuppose “no God,” Ken Miller may presuppose the Judeo-Christian God, and I may presuppose something in between, but by following the evidence, all of it, in context, and refusing to play word games or bear false witness, we arrive at the same conclusion. Whether we like it or not.

Yet astonishingly, even after decades of rhetorical games, creationists are further than ever from any consensus on what God did, when, or how. Thus, to paraphrase Pope John Paul II, all the seeking and fabricating has produced nothing but divergence into “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Note, by “paraphrase” I don’t mean that Pope John Paul II was describing the antics of creationists. Rather his famous 1996 statement on evolution clearly shows that he was impressed at how the evidence for evolution produced “convergence, neither sought nor fabricated.” Intentional or not, to me it’s the greatest dig against anti-evolution antics ever.

chuck said:

Edwin Hensley said:

PZ Myers On Presuppositions

I once was asked by a creationist what my presuppositions were. I knew I probably had some, but I could not put them into words. I now use the following from PZ Myers when asked what my presuppositions are:

“It’s true, I do have some presuppositions. I think that explanations should deal with as much of the evidence as possible; they should avoid contradictions, both internal and with the evidence from the physical world; they should be logical; they should make predictions that can be tested; they should have some utility in addressing new evidence.”

From http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/[…]ivalence.php

I hate to break it to you, but compared to “The One True God Took Time Out Of His Busy Day To Create You And A World For You To Live In.”, you might as well just say “Blah blah blah blah blah…” to most creationists.

Creationists have a much easier job than us from a rhetorical perspective.

I qualified my post with “most moderate Christians.” I do not consider the people you describe as moderate Christians. There are many Christians who believe that creationism is based upon evidence. Believe it or not, I have had great success in convincing moderate Christians that evolution is a fact. I have also deprogrammed (I don’t use the term converted) Christians (including one Mormon) into atheists.

There are many hard-core creationists who are beyond hope. It is harder to unlearn something than it is to learn something.

PZ wrote:

“It’s true, I do have some presuppositions. I think that explanations should deal with as much of the evidence as possible; they should avoid contradictions, both internal and with the evidence from the physical world; they should be logical; they should make predictions that can be tested; they should have some utility in addressing new evidence.”

That’s good. I’m going to use that. I also have a few responses I like to give to creationists. For example, if asked what I believe I could respond:

“I believe in me. I believe that I am intelligent enough to understand at least something about how the universe works and that I am courageous enough to follow the evidence where it leads. I also believe that other humans possess the same qualities and that I can use the results of their research in order to discover some truths about reality.”

If asked if I have faith I can reply:

I have faith in the scientific method. I have faith that the universe is comprehensible and that by using the scientific method some truths about the universe can be discovered. I have faith that humans can rise above their presuppositions, prejudices and misconceptions in order to more fully understand the universe.

Notice that all of this is completely separate from any belief or faith in God. As Frank pointed out, this approach has proven to be highly successful, certainly much more so than the blind faith approach, as if there were anything laudable about blind faith.

stevaroni said: Buddhists, Zoroastrians, Pentecostals and Pastafarians will all get the same number for the acceleration of gravity.

Well, there can always be some systemic measurement bias in your technique. So its more accurate to say that Zoroastrians, etc… will all get the same number when they measure using the same technique. If some philosophical bias makes Zoroastrians prefer spring balances and Buddhists prefer rolling balls down slopes, you may in fact see a consistent and repeatable difference.

But that’s part of the point of science as a discipline. You publish not just your conclusions but your technique. This allows others to analyze your method for possible systemic biases AND repeat it to make sure you didn’t just make a simple error.

This is yet another problem with Behe and Dembski. Even granting for the moment their argument that their books count as peer reviewed publications, the books still only report conclusions, not experimental methods. Their results are unrepeatable, and it is therefore impossible to rule out the possibility that their conclusions contain either simple application errors or systemic technique errors.

Their results are unrepeatable, and it is therefore impossible to rule out the possibility that their conclusions contain either simple application errors or systemic technique errors.

Results? I can’t quite stretch this word far enough to cover arbitrary statements of religious faith. Their method has also been made quite clear: they DECLAIM that something is true because the doctrines of their faith require that it be true. Behe admitted on the stand that his view is peculiar to members of a specific religious orientation.

And you don’t have to look around very far to notice that there are 10,000+ Christian sects who differ as to one aspect or another of what they’ve arbitrarily decided they prefer to be so. These difference can’t be resolved because unlike science, where reality is respected as ultimate arbiter, in religious matters the arbiter boils down to unwillingness (or inability) to change one’s opinion.

The technique of insisting on what you prefer to be the case, despite any amount of evidence to the contrary, has the advantage of having no avenue to being overruled. It also has the advantage (and perhaps the requirement) that you don’t need to know anything whatsoever about what you’re deciding. It’s not just that scientists must be capable of admitting errors – True Believers must be incapable of MAKING errors. Which they believe they are. Ain’t belief wonderful?

Flint said: Results? I can’t quite stretch this word far enough to cover arbitrary statements of religious faith.

That’s a fair comment. I was conceding to them some credibility for the sake of the argument. But outside of the argument, I agree with you, they have none. Their “conclusions” are all assertion.

I would not want AiG creationists on my jury. I want people who will listen to evidence rather than their own presuppositions, even those beginning with a presupposition of my innocence. Why? Well, I know RBH’s post was a bit tongue-in-cheek, but IMO strict moralists are not likely to just disregard evidence. Instead, they’ll replace consideration of evidence with a consideration of your character. Instead of trial by evidence, it’ll be trial by ad hominem. It’ll be: bad people deserve punishment even if they didn’t do it, and good people go free even if they did. And if you aren’t a god-fearing member of the jury’s religious community, guess which one you are.

eric Wrote:

I would not want AiG creationists on my jury. I want people who will listen to evidence rather than their own presuppositions, even those beginning with a presupposition of my innocence. Why? Well, I know RBH’s post was a bit tongue-in-cheek…

You’d want them on the jury if you were guilty and knew that under no circumstances would they convict anyone other than some 3rd party. ;-)

I should add that, guilty or innocent, you might want the DI’s IDers on the jury. I often think of it this way: mainstream science has “convicted” evolution by concluding that “evolution did it.” AIG has similarly “convicted” YEC. But IDers do not want to “convict anyone” (hence the “don’t ask, don’t tell the designer’s identity or what he/she/it did, when or how). And they particularlly want to “acquit” evolution (“evolution didn’t do it”).

I Wrote:

AIG has similarly “convicted” YEC.

By “similarly” I only mean the result. The process - starting with the conclusion and ignoring any evidence that does not fit - could not be more different.

The process - starting with the conclusion and ignoring any evidence that does not fit …

Skeptic! it’s a wonderful process, soon all the maths and sciences will understand it’s probative value

http://www.gocomics.com/nonsequitur/2009/02/24/

http://www.gocomics.com/nonsequitur/2009/02/25/

stevaroni said:

Skeptic!

Oh, I like that: “Let’s just say you put the DUMB in DUMBFOUNDED.” I’ll have to remember that one.

Cheers – MrG / http://www.vectorsite.net/gblog.html

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on February 20, 2009 6:09 PM.

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