Phil_GA vs Vosur (YEC)
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12-12-2012, 03:22 PM (This post was last modified: 12-12-2012 05:16 PM by Vosur.)
Phil_GA vs Vosur (YEC)
Welcome to tonight's match!

Coming from the left corner, we have the newcomer from Georgia who recently joined TTA, a proponent of the infamous hypothesis of Young Earth Creationism, which poses that the Earth and universe are merely 6,000-10,000 years old, ladies and gentlemen, welcome Phil_GAAAAAAAAAAAA.

And coming from the right corner, we have the well-known atheist and German efficiency machine, a defender of the view that the Earth and universe are several billion years old, heavy-weight champion Vosuuuuuuuuuuuuuuur.



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12-12-2012, 05:11 PM
RE: Phil_GA vs Vosur (YEC)
Phil_GA, do you want to start off by solving the Starlight problem?

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13-12-2012, 04:31 PM
RE: Phil_GA vs Vosur (YEC)
Thank you, Vosur, for the now apparently one of *two* challenges that have been lobbed in my specific direction.

A bit of intro is in order:

I am an IT professional and a lay theologian (at best) by hobby. I'll do my best to answer whatever questions I can, and a lot of the time I'll likely answer with a good dose of, "I don't know."

Furthermore, with respect to the topic of creationism, it is likely that folks such as yourself, Vosur, have done probably far more research in this area than I have, and when it comes to scientific evidence, I think you'll find me ceding those *observable* facts to you more often than not.

In other words, I'm not here to dispute, say, the existence of whether or not dinosaurs lived; based on the fossil record, they did. I'm here to present why I believe what I believe.

Now, on to the debate.

As my worthy opponent, you have taken the initiative to begin this thread with a specific question at hand, that of the alleged "Starlight problem." Fortunately, it appears that RationalWiki.org has already essentially given the creationist position, which is more fully hashed out, here.

Personally, I am not going to deny that this is a fascinating question, and I'm not sure that this specific question will ever legitimately get resolved, because of a bigger issue that ties into it -- reproducing the beginnings of things.

Since I see science as observing primarily repeated behaviors in the natural realm, I know that neither creation (regardless of what qualifier is associated therewith) nor evolution is going to get completely proven one way or the other, because *initial beginnings cannot be reliably reproduced on the same scale as that of reality.*

So, aside from the links I've just supplied, I honestly don't know how to answer that specific question, nor do I know enough about astrophysics to even attempt to provide a secular answer for you.

But let's keep this going.

Do you agree that matter/energy (collectively known as the natural realm) had an actual start? Why or why not?
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13-12-2012, 04:40 PM
RE: Phil_GA vs Vosur (YEC)
Challenge accepted. Off topic posts deleted.

This thread is now restricted to Vosur and Phil_GA.

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13-12-2012, 06:38 PM (This post was last modified: 13-12-2012 06:50 PM by Vosur.)
RE: Phil_GA vs Vosur (YEC)
(13-12-2012 04:31 PM)Phil_GA Wrote:  Now, on to the debate.

As my worthy opponent, you have taken the initiative to begin this thread with a specific question at hand, that of the alleged "Starlight problem." Fortunately, it appears that RationalWiki.org has already essentially given the creationist position, which is more fully hashed out, here.
Let me start off my response with the following question: Do you think that their solution is sound and holds up to rational scrutiny?

Other than that, you are correct, I've already done a fair amount of research on this topic. I've been dealing with the Christian fundamentalist website answersingenesis and their articles in the past, including their attempt to solve the starlight problem. If you think that they make a compelling case for their position, I'd be more than happy to show you the flaws in their reasoning.

(13-12-2012 04:31 PM)Phil_GA Wrote:  Personally, I am not going to deny that this is a fascinating question, and I'm not sure that this specific question will ever legitimately get resolved, because of a bigger issue that ties into it -- reproducing the beginnings of things.
(13-12-2012 04:31 PM)Phil_GA Wrote:  So, aside from the links I've just supplied, I honestly don't know how to answer that specific question, nor do I know enough about astrophysics to even attempt to provide a secular answer for you.
I appreciate your honesty, I really do, but I have to ask you how you can maintain the belief that the Earth and the Universe are only a few thousands years old without having a conclusive solution to this problem nonetheless.

(13-12-2012 04:31 PM)Phil_GA Wrote:  Since I see science as observing primarily repeated behaviors in the natural realm, I know that neither creation (regardless of what qualifier is associated therewith) nor evolution is going to get completely proven one way or the other, because *initial beginnings cannot be reliably reproduced on the same scale as that of reality.*
With all due respect, it appears that you have a fundamental misunderstanding of science and the theory of evolution.

Firstly, the theory of evolution is not dependent on and does not attempt explain the origins of life. Experiments conducted and research done on the initial beginning of life on Earth are part of the field of abiogenesis. It should be noted that the same applies to the Big Bang theory. We do not need to know how life on Earth or the Universe originated to explain the developments that we have been observing ever since. I suggest you to read at least the first paragraph of each of these articles in order to get a good understanding of what these theories are about.

Secondly, science is much more than that which you've described. Chas has expressed it tersely in his signature: "Science is not a subject, but a method." The physicist Richard Feynman does an excellent job at explaining the scientific method.



Creationism does not fulfill any of the necessary criteria for having a place in the realm of science. Not only is it unfalsifiable, possesses no explanatory power and has no observational or experimental evidence to support it, but it is also impossible to make any (testable) predictions based upon it.

(13-12-2012 04:31 PM)Phil_GA Wrote:  But let's keep this going.

Do you agree that matter/energy (collectively known as the natural realm) had an actual start? Why or why not?
Based on our past and current observations, it seems very likely that the Universe had a beginning. The idea that it is static and eternal has been almost entirely abandoned when Edward Hubble validated tre" target="_blank">Georges Lemaître's hypothesis of an expanding universe by confirming the the observational data of Vesto Melvin Slipher and other astronomers.

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13-12-2012, 08:29 PM
RE: Phil_GA vs Vosur (YEC)
Quote:I've been dealing with the Christian fundamentalist website answersingenesis and their articles in the past, including their attempt to solve the starlight problem. If you think that they make a compelling case for their position, I'd be more than happy to show you the flaws in their reasoning.

Please do, as I have a lot of ignorance on the scientific side of this topic.

Quote:I appreciate your honesty, I really do, but I have to ask you how you can maintain the belief that the Earth and the Universe are only a few thousands years old without having a conclusive solution to this problem nonetheless.

I'll be looking forward to your responses, per my response, above.

Quote:Creationism does not fulfill any of the necessary criteria for having a place in the realm of science. Not only is it unfalsifiable, possesses no explanatory power and has no observational or experimental evidence to support it, but it is also impossible to make any (testable) predictions based upon it.

If it is true that there is an uncaused cause to the origin of the universe, then such an originator would necessarily be outside of the natural realm, at least at the beginning.

Along these lines, is there evidence that one species has evolved into a completely different species? It may sound like a silly illustration, but maybe a dog evolving into a cat (again, I'm trying to be stark in my illustration)?

Quote:Based on our past and current observations, it seems very likely that the Universe had a beginning. The idea that it is static and eternal has been almost entirely abandoned when Edward Hubble validated Georges Lemaître's hypothesis of an expanding universe by confirming the the observational data of Vesto Melvin Slipher and other astronomers.

Now that's beginning to beg some questions, as I've already implied.

Can the universe create itself? If the natural realm had a beginning, would not the processes -- much less the human genome, per se -- provide prima facia evidence of intelligent design? From what I've seen of things like DNA, it looks more like software programming than simply a randomized collection of atoms or other matter. What would be the chances of DNA simply happening to come together?

Yes, I'm already switching sub-topics, but you're showing yourself to be an excellent mind, so I want to pick it!

After all, proving or disproving timelines for starlight and other things is one thing; disproving an uncaused cause is something on a completely different scale.

I'll be interested in hearing your viewpoint soon.
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14-12-2012, 08:27 PM
RE: Phil_GA vs Vosur (YEC)
(13-12-2012 08:29 PM)Phil_GA Wrote:  Please do, as I have a lot of ignorance on the scientific side of this topic.
(13-12-2012 08:29 PM)Phil_GA Wrote:  I'll be looking forward to your responses, per my response, above.
All right, that's good to hear. Be warned though, this is going to be very long read.

Does Distant Starlight Prove the Universe Is Old?

01. Introduction
02. The Assumptions of Light Travel-time Arguments
Both in the introduction and in the section "The Assumptions of Light Travel-time Arguments", Jason Lisle (the author) asserts that an estimation of age in science relies on several assumptions. If you examine the definition of the underlined term closely, you will be able to understand why this claim is flawed on several levels. What the author condescendingly calls assumptions are actually well-supported scientific theories that have been confirmed using different independent methods, but we'll get to that later on. Aside from that, I suppose I should give him credit for accurately displaying the position of the scientific community in this part.

03. The Constancy of the Speed of Light
Lisle made a big blunder in this section because he contradicted one his earlier positions. While claiming that there is no doubt about the consistent nature of the laws of physics due to the consistent nature of god in a different article written prior to this one, he now casts a doubt on the constancy of the speed of light for the sake of finding a possible solution to the starlight problem.

Jason Lisle (answersingenesis.com) Wrote:Clearly, creationists can indeed be real scientists. And this shouldn’t be surprising since the very basis for scientific research is biblical creation. The universe is orderly because its Creator is logical and has imposed order on the universe. God created our minds and gave us the ability and curiosity to study the universe. Furthermore, we can trust that the universe will obey the same physics tomorrow as it does today because God is consistent. This is why science is possible.
Source: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles...scientists

Jason Lisle (answersingenesis.com) Wrote:It is usually assumed that the speed of light is constant with time. At today’s rate, it takes light (in a vacuum) about one year to cover a distance of 6 trillion miles. But has this always been so? If we incorrectly assume that the rate has always been today’s rate, we would end up estimating an age that is much older than the true age. But some people have proposed that light was much quicker in the past. If so, light could traverse the universe in only a fraction of the time it would take today. Some creation scientists believe that this is the answer to the problem of distant starlight in a young universe.
Source: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles...ight-prove

04. The Assumption of Rigidity of Time
At this point, the author misrepresents the concept of time dilation by stating that "Light that would take billions of years to reach earth (as measured by clocks in deep space) could reach earth in only thousands of years as measured by clocks on earth. This would happen naturally if the earth is in a gravitational well, which we will discuss below." If you read up on time dilation and gravitational wells, you will notice at least two things. One, that time dilation is dependent on the consistency of the speed of light, meaning that he, once again, contradicts his earlier position that the constancy of the speed of light is only assumed and two, that neither of the concepts support his claim.

Wikipedia Wrote:Time dilation can be inferred from the observed fact of the constancy of the speed of light in all reference frames. [4][5][6][7]

This constancy of the speed of light means, counter to intuition, that speeds of material objects and light are not additive. It is not possible to make the speed of light appear greater by approaching at speed towards the material source that is emitting light. It is not possible to make the speed of light appear less by receding from the source at speed. From one point of view, it is the implications of this unexpected constancy that take away from constancies expected elsewhere.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_dilation

05. Assumptions of Synchronization
Here Jason Lisle describes the difference between local and universal time and claims that although universal time is used to measure distances with the speed of light in modern cosmology, the Bible may have been using local time to describe the events in Genesis. Not only does he offer zero scriptural support for this hypothesis, he also resorts to making an argument from ignorance to prove that his position has any merit.

Jason Lisle (answersingenesis.com) Wrote:Now, this idea may or may not be the reason that distant starlight is able to reach earth within the biblical timescale, but so far no one has been able to prove that the Bible does not use cosmic local time. So, it is an intriguing possibility."

Jason Lisle (answersingenesis.com) Wrote:Since God created the stars on Day 4, their light would leave the star on Day 4 and reach earth on Day 4 cosmic local time. Light from all galaxies would reach earth on Day 4 if we measure it according to cosmic local time. Someone might object that the light itself would experience billions of years (as the passenger on the plane experiences the two hour trip). However, according to Einstein’s relativity, light does not experience the passage of time, so the trip would be instantaneous.
If you take a look at the theory of relativity, you'll notice that his argument has absolutely nothing to do with it.

06. The Assumption of Naturalism
In this section, the author proposes that naturalism is both an unfounded assumption and anti-biblical. Contrary to his opinion, naturalism is not only the foundation of the scientific method, which is currently the most cohesive and objective set of tools we have for gathering knowledge about the Universe, it has also shown itself to be consistently correct throughout the ages. It seems strange to me that the author claims that naturalism is nothing but a blind assumption despite of these facts. In the remaining parts of the section, Lisle speculates on how god could have used his supernatural powers to create the stars and guide their light one way or the other. Needless to say that his speculations have no particular value if he is unable to present any evidence to support them; even more so because his arguments are targeted at a non-religious audience.

07. Light Travel-Time: A Self-Refuting Argument
As the author himself admits, there is a theorized solution to the horizon problem, called "inflationary theory". He does, however, go further than that.

Jason Lisle (answersingenesis.com) Wrote:But the inflation model amounts to nothing more than storytelling with no supporting evidence at all. It is merely speculation designed to align the big bang to conflicting observations. Moreover, inflation adds an additional set of problems and difficulties to the big bang model, such as the cause of such inflation and a graceful way to turn it off. An increasing number of secular astrophysicists are rejecting inflation for these reasons and others. Clearly, the horizon problem remains a serious light travel-time problem for the big bang.
As usual, Lisle provides no evidence, no sources and no citations for any of his claims. Both his claim that the number of secular astrophysicists that reject inflationary theory and the claim that there is no evidence to support it remain unsubstantiated. I suggest you to read about inflation yourself so that you can judge whether or not it is mere speculation.

Jason Lisle (answersingenesis.com) Wrote:The critic may suggest that the big bang is a better explanation of origins than the Bible since biblical creation has a light travel-time problem—distant starlight. But such an argument is not rational since the big bang has a light travel-time problem of its own. If both models have the same problem in essence, then that problem cannot be used to support one model over the other. Therefore, distant starlight cannot be used to dismiss the Bible in favor of the big bang.
Not much to my surprise, the author does not address any popular point of criticism of the biblical creation, such as the complete the absence of observational, experimental and theoretical evidence to support it, the unfalsifiability of the hypothesis and the fact that it has not produced a single prediction that could have been tested and verified. Neither "creation science" nor the biblical creation account have anything to do with science and the scientific method.

08. Conclusion
As the title suggests, this is, for the most part, a summary of the claims made in the article followed by a conclusion. At the very end, Jason Lisle claims that "Of course, such arguments also involve assumptions about the past. That is why, ultimately, the only way to know about the past for certain is to have a reliable historic record written by an eyewitness. That is exactly what we have in the Bible."

The historicity of the Bible and the question of whether or not it was written by eyewitnesses has been discussed on here ad nauseam. You'll find plenty of material concerning this topic both on TTA and on the Internet in general. Suffice to say, whoever wrote the creation story in Genesis was not an eyewitness to the event, since according the Bible, Adam and Eve were the first humans to walk on Earth.

On a final note, in case you haven't watched the debate about the age of the Earth and Universe between YEC Kent Hovind and OEC Hugh Ross that I recommended to you in your introduction thread yet, I'd advise you to do so now. The physicist Hugh Ross covers many of the topics that are mentioned in the article and covers them in much greater detail than I was able to. He makes an excellent case for his position using science and shows that the Bible actually doesn't support YEC. You should also check out the following take on Creationism by one of the most admirable scientists to have ever lived, Carl Sagan.



(13-12-2012 08:29 PM)Phil_GA Wrote:  If it is true that there is an uncaused cause to the origin of the universe, then such an originator would necessarily be outside of the natural realm, at least at the beginning.
Firstly, since the hypothesis that an immaterial and uncaused being created the Universe can neither be falsified, nor confirmed by observation or through experimentation, it is beyond the realms of science. Secondly, the argument for an uncaused cause is self-defeating because it is based on the fallacy of special pleading. In a nutshell, it renders its own premise, that everything that exists requires a cause, invalid by making an exception to it. That aside, nobody currently knows where the Universe (or its proposed creator) came from.



(13-12-2012 08:29 PM)Phil_GA Wrote:  Along these lines, is there evidence that one species has evolved into a completely different species? It may sound like a silly illustration, but maybe a dog evolving into a cat (again, I'm trying to be stark in my illustration)?
I'd prefer if we'd stick with one topic at a time. If you wish to discuss the theory of evolution with me, feel free to make a new thread about it after we have finished this discussion.

It would be reasonable to assume you want to have an answer to your questions in the meantime, which is why I've decided to give you a starting point for your own research. I recommend you to start your learning experience by reading upon the mechanisms of evolution and speciation on this website. It provides you with an explanation that is accessible for laymen who have not studied biology (myself included) and makes for a fine introduction to the topic. After you've done that, you can explore other websites and resources (books, lectures, etc.) on your own, making sure that I'm not the one filtering the information you receive. Lastly, should you encounter any arguments against the theory of evolution coming from Creationists, it would be a good idea to look them up on TalkOrigins, a website that has an index with a profound refutations to pretty much all Creationist arguments ever made. Good luck.

(13-12-2012 08:29 PM)Phil_GA Wrote:  Now that's beginning to beg some questions, as I've already implied. Can the universe create itself?
As I've explained earlier in this post, the origins of our Universe are currently unknown.

(13-12-2012 08:29 PM)Phil_GA Wrote:  If the natural realm had a beginning, would not the processes -- much less the human genome, per se -- provide prima facia evidence of intelligent design?
Do you care to elaborate on this? I'd like to hear more about the reasoning behind this thought.

(13-12-2012 08:29 PM)Phil_GA Wrote:  From what I've seen of things like DNA, it looks more like software programming than simply a randomized collection of atoms or other matter.
See above.

(13-12-2012 08:29 PM)Phil_GA Wrote:  What would be the chances of DNA simply happening to come together?
Assuming that this is not a rhetorical question, are you asking me about the likelihood of abiogenesis?

(13-12-2012 08:29 PM)Phil_GA Wrote:  After all, proving or disproving timelines for starlight and other things is one thing; disproving an uncaused cause is something on a completely different scale.
I'm glad you've brought this up, because I think that you should know that disproving the existence of something that is outside of the realm of observational and experimental science is an impossibility. Fortunately, the burden of proof lies with the one who makes the claim, not the one being skeptical of it, meaning that if you were to claim that an uncaused cause exists, it would be your responsibility to substantiate your claim with evidence. Rest assured, the same applies to me if I were to assert that such an uncaused cause does not exist and you were suspicious of my claim.



I sure hope that you'll be able to learn something from this post so that the countless hours of research and editing will not have been in vain. Smartass

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18-12-2012, 03:34 PM
RE: Phil_GA vs Vosur (YEC)
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18-12-2012, 10:34 PM
RE: Phil_GA vs Vosur (YEC)
Is this the bit where I come in and say I told you so?

I don't talk gay, I don't walk gay, it's like people don't even know I'm gay unless I'm blowing them.
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04-01-2013, 05:35 AM
RE: Phil_GA vs Vosur (YEC)
I doubt that Phil_GA is going to come back, seeing that he has been absent for three times as long as he's been on here in the first place. I think you (mods/admins) can lock this thread until the day he decides to return.

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