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Monday, January 31, 2011

Young-earth creationist astronomy has a long way to go

Todd Wood is a young-earth creationist, and makes no bones about it. However, he is far from endorsing every argument for the truth of his position. Wood is a scientist, with impeccable credentials, and, in my opinion, his blog is required reading for anyone seriously interested in the problem of origins, and at least interested in supernatural explanations, whether such a reader is willing to accept them or not.

Wood is a biologist, not an astronomer, but he previously criticized two papers on astronomy, in Answers Research Journal, an on-line publication of Answers in Genesis, a young-earth creationist organization, saying, basically, that they didn't explain anything, just reported it. Wood has now written a comment on a new article in the same journal. The new article, which does not explain anything, either, does set forth a list of phenomena which are well explained by mainstream astronomy, and which must, if young-earth astronomy is to become credible, be equally well explained by astronomy with such presuppositions.

Wood commends the new article for its list. It also discusses something that we usually take for granted, that is, what an explanation is, and how to tell if an explanation is really explaining something.

I have my doubts about young-earth astronomy. But the author of the new article, James Upton, seems to have done a good job in setting forth a blueprint for where young-earth astronomy has to go if it is to ever become truly scientific.

Thanks for reading.


Pete D said...

Regardless of credentials, any scientist who believes the earth is less than 10,000 years old is delusional given the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Just like Montagnier (Nobel Prize for discovering the AIDS virus) and homeopathy. You can be brilliant in one area and utterly incompetent or irrational in another.

But I'll read him for a while to see more what he's about.

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, Pete D.

I don't agree with Wood, but I admire his honesty, and his realization that, as you say, there is "overwhelming evidence to the contrary." Most Young-Earth Creationists seem to ignore such evidence, or even to make up contrary evidence. He attends mainstream scientific meetings, and understands what is said, and the implications.

His blog does not allow comments, but you can e-mail him -- he occasionally gives his address. I've never done so.

Pete D said...

Anybody who is an expert in genomics and claims that the present genetic diversity can be a result of 6000 yrs of evolution is inherently dishonest. That he does not deny certain lines of evidence is irrelevant to the fact that he ignores the evidence from cladistics in favor of his baraminological analysis (which post-hoc rejects contradictory evidence). Additionally, Wood assumes Noah's flood actually happened, which ignores geological and historical evidence. I'm not sure this is such a good standard for honesty.

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, Pete.

Maybe not honest, but that's not what I would say.

I prefer to think of him as wrong on these points, for what he thinks of as good reasons, and accepting the difficulties of trying to reconcile his fundamental assumptions with the facts, and honestly trying to do so.

Probably all of us, including me and you, have beliefs that are incorrect, but are held for what we think are valid reasons.