The Dissing of Young-Earth Creationism
Writing at the Christian web site Agape Press, Brian Fahling offers these thoughts about how it is evolution, not ID, that most resembles creationism.
It's the usual silliness: Evolutionists are blinded by their atheistic presuppositions. There are terrible flaws in Darwinism. The ID folks start with no presuppositions and are just following the evidence. Blah blah blah.
But this caught my eye:
Creationism is an a priori argument drawn from a particular interpretation of the Genesis account of creation. In the context of a public classroom, that means the God of the Bible is the starting point and assumed ground of life's origin and the origin of the cosmos. Drawing from a literal reading of Genesis, creationists postulate a “young earth” and six 24-hour days of creation. All empirical data are subject to and analyzed within this interpretive grid.
Intelligent design, however, is an a posteriori argument; it is the inference drawn from examination of complex structures in living organisms and the universe. Instead of attributing the design evident in these structures to God, or undirected processes and natural selection, the intelligent design theorist merely posits an intelligent cause behind life and the cosmos. The inference is not held as the only possible explanation, merely, for now, the most plausible.
This is a standard talking-point for the ID crowd. ID is based on science but YEC is not. Since the Supreme Court has effectively ruled that teaching Scientific Creationism is unconstitutional, the ID's are desperate to distance themselves from it.
Sadly, Fahling's distinction is nonsense. YEC's do believe, personally, that the Bible is a legitimate source of evidence about natural history, and that science should be conducted through a thesitic lens. But most ID folks hold precisely the same belief.
On the other hand, the YEC's also claim that their specific assertions about natural history are justified entirely by the best available scientific evidence. It is their claim that one should accept ideas like a young-Earth and global flood not just because the Bible tells you to, but because the evidence points in that direction.
For example, in the book Scientific Creationism, edited by Henry Morris, we find this:
The purpose of Scientific Creationism is, first, to treat all of the more pertinent aspects of the subject of origins and to do this solely on a scientific basis, with no references to the Bible or to religious doctrine. The treatment is positive, rather than negative, showing that the creation model of origins and history may be used to correlate the facts of science at least as effectively as the evolution model.
And Fahling's statement that YEC's simply postulate a young Earth:
As a matter of fact, the creation model does not, in its basic form, require a short time scale. It merely assumes a period of special creation sometime in the past, without necessarily stating when that was. On the other hand, the evolution model does require a long time scale. The creation model is thus free to consider the evidence on its own merits, whereas the evolution model is forced to reject all evidence that favors a short time scale. (Emphasis in original).
The claim made by YEC is that the methods used by scientists to estimate the age of the Earth are fundamentally flawed, and that there are many other lines of evidence that point to a young-Earth. These claims are not correct, but the point here is that they are based on an assessment of the evidence, and not on Scripture.
We should also remember that all of the criticisms of evolution made by ID folk find anticipations in the YEC literature. In particular, YEC's reason from the complexity of organisms to the existence of a designer. There is no distinction between ID and YEC on this count.
It has become commonplace for ID folks to tell the most outrageous lies and hurl the most vicious smears at evolutionists. Now it seems the YEC's are coming in for the same treatment.