Monday, October 30, 2017

... on Gil Yehuda's Attitude to YEC (quora)

Is young earth creationism intellectually credible?

Answer requested by Giovanni Garreffa

Gil Yehuda
I often answer questions to stimulate thought, not to provide solutions.
Answered Feb 26, 2013
No, of course not. There is no credible intellectual evidence that supports this theory. But that's not the interesting question as I see it. Rather, was it ever intellectually credible? And for that question, I'd say yes.

In order to be intellectually credible, a theory has to have evidence, even weak evidence to support it. Prior to the development of carbon-14 dating, discovery of fossils, or anything like the discovery of the Chauvet Cave, people's only evidence to the history and origins of the earth was based on traditional folk tales. Most every ancient nation had some story, and almost none of them seemed to go back more than a few thousand years. So with no opposing credible evidence, it seems reasonable that a 14th century educated person would think that a 7000 year old Earth (Young Earth Created by some divine power) is perfectly plausible -- and no less plausible than a 13 Billion year old one. In fact, he'd wonder if the 13 billion year number was intellectually credible since it would seem pretty made up. Whereas everyone else seems to say otherwise.

Now of course, the evidence paints a very different picture, and thus intellectually speaking, the YEC is not credible at all. Interestingly enough, the Earth did not get older in this process. Rather, new facts became evident. Reality did not change, but our understanding of it did.

What makes this interesting to me is that much like the 14th century intellectual was quite certain of his understanding of facts, and confident that no one would come a few centuries later to prove him wrong, we too are quite confident in our understanding of facts and are quite certain that no one will prove us wrong. In this case, we may be right -- but the pattern of certainty is worth challenging.

Don Muchnick
Jun 15, 2013
What are your thoughts on this article called '101 evidences for a young age of the earth and the universe':

Gil Yehuda
Jun 16, 2013
It's so difficult to say. In order for me to fully comprehend the article, I'd have to suspend my rational thinking capabilities. But then I would not be able to share my thoughts on it after I read the article, since my thinking would be suspended. A puzzle I cannot solve.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Jan 2
A convenient excuse for avoiding debate.

Gil Yehuda
Jan 2
Or, simply an honest response. How can you tell which?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Jan 2
Because the following seems less than candid:

“In order for me to fully comprehend the article, I'd have to suspend my rational thinking capabilities.”

When it comes to a 14th C intellectual, you seem to have a professional interest in fully understanding his position.

You do, then resume either your rational thinking or what you take to be such. How come you can’t do so with the article?

Btw, I suspect that part of what you see as resuming your rational thinking capabilities after studying 14th C intellectuals closely is really rather shutting off rational considerations which the study could have awakened - but, unlike above, that is just a suspicion, not a thought through reproach.

Gil Yehuda
7h ago
I’ll disagree with your assessment. I think that smart people make decisions based on the information they have available to them. Centuries ago, smart people did not know what we know. They were indeed smart, but we are better equipped with information. I think we honor their intelligence by recognizing that they made decisions based on the data they had.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
just now
I do not disagree on them making decisions on data they had.

The problem is, you are not making decisions on data you have.

You are blocking out data available from the Young Earth Creationist side.

next day:

Gil Yehuda
5h ago
I see. Well, so far I see the YEC sites that were listed here posing many questions about the commonly held scientific positions. That’s great. My point above was that much like we tend to be confident in our understanding of reality, so too were the smart people of the past. Yet, we now believe they were wrong. I assume that in the future, many things we believe will be proven wrong — or at least explained with far more detail than we are capable of with our current set of instruments.

So it is likely that in 600 years from now, we’ll know more about the age of the planet. For all I know, it will be proven to be young — and perhaps a computer simulation. But I don’t plan on making any decisions based on that speculation. At least not yet.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
just now
The thing is, we have today not ONE but (at least) TWO understandings, and you are claiming to have less understanding of the contemporay other than your own than of a Medieval one.

Also, back then you had at least TWO understandings, like the Thomistic competing with an Averroistic one.

There never was any epoch (outside small tribal societies not traceable in the main history of civilisation) where there was only ONE understanding.

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