27 November 2005

Step 1: do I have any ammo?

I’ve probably commented too much on this topic already, but I do so enjoy playing the devil’s advocate.

David Jericho, your questions have already been pre-answered. The baleen whale question is of the same nature as the “why are snakes poisonous if there was no strife at creation?” question.

Most of the variants of YEC that I’ve seen postulate dramatic changes in the environment, pivoting on the “cursed is the ground for thy sake” statement in Genesis 3. Comparing fossil dragonflies with a wingspan exceeding a metre against modern dragonflies gives one the eerie feeling that yes, there may indeed have been changes in the time between the two. (-:

In changed circumstances, the baleen might serve a different function, or be able to be used in volumes of seawater containing only vegetable krill. I think you might also get some takers for the idea that krill aren’t classed as “meat” by the Bible, but I strongly suspect that of being an angels-dancing-on-a-pin line of reasoning: essentially impossible to prove one way or another.

HIV is also trivial to write off, since it’s “obviously” a degeneration rather than something constructive or unique. Tinfoil hatters can also make a terrifyingly convincing case for HIV having been «cue dramatic chords» engineered.

Bacteria exchange information in plasmids, and many organisms express their existing collection of genes in different ways depending upon circumstances (such as Darwin’s Finches, which vary their average characteristics back and forth depending on environmental pressures), so an adaptive HIV would come as no surprise from a YEC perspective. If you can come up with two cases demonstrating direct evidence of a constructive change, you’ll start getting some attention. Hint: sickle-cell anameia isn’t one of them.

Steve Hanley’s failure to take Benjamin Carlyle seriously seems to reflect a “sitting on clouds with harps” or “Noah’sbathtub ark” attitude toward the whole Christianity thing. That’s a bit... risky. Kind of like going into a pistol duel with an empty weapon because you don’t think that the other guy’s serious. Not a career-enhancing, life-extending move.

The canonical answer to your question “what was going through their heads [...]?” is, AFAICT, pretty simple. Having already been warned (in Genesis 3 still) that “in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children”, a handful of verses later Eve “[...] conceived, and bare Cain, and said, ‘I have gotten a man from the LORD’.” If you’d taken Benjamin seriously enough to read a few pages (I don’t have a paper Bible to hand, but based on the on-line text you’d have to go no further in than about 5 pages) you’d have had your answer, saved some embarrassment, and perhaps been able to pose some interesting questions instead. I like interesting questions. (-:

As part and parcel of not taking Benjamin’s PoV seriously, I don’t think the penny really has dropped WRT the popularity of Christianity in general and YEC in particular. At the same time as many churches are wailing about their social market share constantly eroding, YEC forms a large minority and in some regions of the world a clear majority of the population. It’s no safer to write off YECs than people with breasts, confused sexual tastes or serious levels of melanin in their system (Sydney, a Zambian student currently reading this over my shoulder while he waits for me to finish using the screen, agrees with the latter :-).

Perhaps if you take things seriously and pose more interesting questions, Benjamin will be able to supply more interesting answers. In that hope, please go into the duel with your pistol loaded.

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