Questions for Young Earth Creationists

Young earth creationists like Ken Ham love to claim that they have a different interpretation of the same evidence, but for that to be true they’d have to actually interpret the evidence instead of pretending most of it doesn’t exist and purposely misrepresenting what remains.  I’m not going to say they can’t answer these questions, because even if your answer is stupid or irrelevant, it’s still technically an answer. But their belief systems do not allow for rational solutions to these problems, which is why they usually just deny reality instead.

Keep in mind that this is a very short and incomplete list of such questions, and the full list of facts their hypothesis fails to explain and/or directly contradicts would fill a book, at least.

Questions

  • Why did god…
    • …give humans the genes for producing egg yolk, and a lot of other unneeded genetic code (such as a bunch of ancient virus genomes that we share with other animals), all of which makes up a significant portion of our DNA and perfectly matches our history according to evolution?
    • …give most organisms the genetic code needed to produce vitamin C but install a broken mutated version in all primates, including humans, making it look like we lost that functionality due to our ancestors having a fruit-based diet which allowed the gene to mutate without causing a vitamin C deficiency?
    • …plant millions of other specific mutations in all organisms, in both used and unused genes, in precisely the pattern we would expect if they were all inherited from common ancestors?
    • …create dozens of other human species with both DNA and physical features displaying a smooth progression from chimpanzee-like ancestors to modern humans?
    • …create dozens of whale-like species displaying a smooth progression from four-legged land animals to the cetaceans of today with their tiny hind leg bones?
    • …create thousands of other organisms that show smooth transitions between every major type of animal and make them all go extinct and get buried at just the right times to fit the theory of evolution and also match the family tree constructed from shared DNA mutations?
    • …magically increase the genetic diversity of humans, making it look impossible for us to have all descended from a single pair in a few thousand years?
    • …magically alter our genomes to plant detailed evidence of past migrations and interbreeding and population bottlenecks and other events that never happened?
    • …put the light sensing cells behind the nerves in all vertebrate eyes, creating a blind spot and higher chance of retinal detachment, but do it the right way for octopuses and their relatives?
    • …wrap the left recurrent laryngeal nerve around the aortic arch in every tetrapod, making it way longer than needed and giving it the same path it follows more logically in neckless animals like fish?
    • …give more ancient bipedal animals like ostriches very robust feet and ankles that allow them to run at high speeds more efficiently and with less chance of injury, while making our flimsy bone-filled feet look exactly like the deformed hands we’d expect if our ancestors lived in trees relatively recently?
    • …design our spine like that of a four-legged animal with minimal adaptations for upright weight-bearing?
    • …create all animals within nested hierarchies of shared traits and avoid creating any that could easily disprove evolution, such as a mammal with feathers, or a cold-blooded bird, or a whale with fish scales, or a duck with a crocodile head?
  • How did the global flood…
    • …sort every organism into precisely the order they should be if they had evolved?
    • …bury 3000+ times more biological matter in one year than can exist on the planet at any one time?
    • …avoid creating a single thick layer of sediment sorted by particle size, like every other flood does?
    • …produce different layers of different composition bearing detailed remnants of numerous unique and mutually incompatible ecosystems in the same location?
    • …produce geological features that are only possible in dry environments?
    • …create huge deposits of evaporative minerals, like the sea salt under the Himalayas?
    • …defy gravity to stack up enormous amounts of ancient deposits on the higher-elevation continents while leaving the lower ocean floors untouched?
    • …create varves with millions of distinct layers made of tiny particles, with varying composition corresponding to seasonal changes in the environment, which could only form by slowly settling through calm water?
    • …carve canyons that take sharp 180-degree turns on flat land, giving them a path exactly like a typical meandering river?
    • …avoid destroying civilizations (like Egypt) and ecosystems (like those in Scandinavia with 9000 year old trees) that already existed at the time and continued existing to the modern day?
  • How is it possible…
    • …that people all around the world inherited DNA unique to the ancient human remains nearby that were buried before or during the flood?
    • …that different people groups have traces of DNA from different ancient human species that all went extinct long before the flood?
    • …for the planet to support a thousand times more biodiversity than it currently has?
    • …for organisms that require completely different environments to thrive in the same place at the same time?
    • …for many different species occupying the exact same environmental niche to thrive in the same place at the same time, despite requiring the same limited resources?
    • …to fit all of that biodiversity on the ark, when the current biodiversity of the world is already impossible to fit (due to food and sanitation and habitat requirements) even if you hypocritically adopt hyper-fast evolution to condense it to a relative handful of “kinds”?
    • …to make a chicken develop the mouth, arms, and tail of a dinosaur by merely disabling some of its genes?
    • …that individual sediment layers created by the flood contain volcanic ash from many eruptions throughout history, each in just the right place to match the known age of the eruption according to scientific inquiry?
    • …that traces of those volcanic eruptions are also found in polar ice cores, in layers dating to the same time as the sediments containing matching ash?
    • …that a six-million layer ancient varve contains signs of cyclical climate variations that match the earth’s 21,000 to 413,000 year Milankovitch cycles, which are calculated directly from physics?
    • …for enormous masses of igneous rock to cool down faster than heat can disperse away from them?
    • …for continental plates to drift apart faster than the gooey mantle they float on can move?
    • …to find fossils and stones from older layers as gastroliths in the stomach area of dinosaur and bird fossils, if they were all buried in the same flood?
    • …for evolutionary theory and old-earth geology to repeatedly and correctly pinpoint exactly where we should find transitional fossils?
  • Rapid burial, such as by floods and volcanoes, is how we get spectacularly complete articulated vertebrate fossils, so why are those extremely rare while the vast majority are disarticulated?
  • Considering that the DNA of all living things is made of the same four basic chemicals, and all share a large portion of their DNA with all others, what mechanism prevents a population from changing enough over a long period of time to produce a new “kind” of organism?
  • Since birds have the genes to develop a dinosaur body plan complete with arms and a snout full of teeth, and theropod dinosaurs were covered in feathers and some had beaks and/or wings, and dinosaurs and birds share several other features that are unique to them (like their hips, wishbones, hollow bones, respiratory systems, etc.), as well as being warm-blooded unlike other reptiles, wouldn’t that at least imply that birds and theropods are the same “kind”, like tigers and housecats are?
  • Why do both DNA and the fossil record indicate that crocodiles are more closely related to birds than to lizards?
  • DNA can last for tens of thousands of years, even up to a few million given the right conditions, so if all long-extinct animals lived just a few thousand years ago why have we never found any of their DNA, even in conditions where it would easily last much longer?
  • One of the fascinating things about islands is that organisms confined to them for a long period of time tend to be very unique. In fact, around 30% of the current biodiversity on this planet is endemic to islands. Without evolution, how could that possibly happen?
  • Thorium is not soluble in water, but uranium is and it decays into thorium, and concentrations of thorium throughout coral reefs match the ages calculated by annual growth layers, so why do both of these methods independently agree on 100,000+ year ages for our biggest reefs?
  • Why are all element isotopes with “short” half lives (such as technetium-98 at 4.2 million years) completely absent from earth’s crust aside from a tiny amount produced by radioactive decay of other elements, while the longer-lived isotopes are all present in the amounts expected after billions of years?
  • Heavier elements tend to be rarer, yet lead is significantly more common than anything close to it. That’s because it is the end product of multiple decay chains of radioactive elements, so as time goes on there’s more and more of it. Lead-204, the rarest stable isotope, is not produced by radioactive decay, while the much more common lead-206, 207, and 208 are. A higher ratio of the radiogenic isotopes to 204 is the result of radioactive decay, and the exact ratio will correspond to the length of time that has passed. Why are the radiogenic isotopes of lead so plentiful that they would’ve taken billions of years to accumulate?
  • The last question can be asked about every product of every radioactive decay chain, as all of them are more common than we would expect in a universe younger than 13.8 billion years. For example, helium found in zircons is produced by the decay of radioactive impurities, so why do ancient zircons contain concentrations of helium that would require millions of years to accumulate?
  • And finally…why do the same scientific discoveries and theories that tell us the universe is billions of years old continually prove their value by making things like GPS and smartphones possible, as well as making accurate predictions of phenomena (like the CMB and gravitational waves) decades before they’re finally tested and confirmed?
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17 responses to “Questions for Young Earth Creationists

  1. I tried to reply yesterday but the comment didn’t go up, so I’m trying it as a new comment.

    I didn’t answer before because I was up to my ears in school work.

    Assuming your 50% statistic is correct, and considering the fact that /well/ under 50% of America’s population is biblically literate, and that for several generations schools have ridiculed young earth creationism, if I were you, I would wonder why on earth these wonderfully scientific ideas are so spectacularly unconvincing to the average person. In an increasingly secularized society, you can’t blame it all on religious dogma.

    I’m currently attending a very conservative Christian college, and among students and teachers alike, there’s no great paranoia about GMOs or vaccines, and most people certainly aren’t hung up on organic food. As far as climate change, we don’t talk about it much. One of my teachers recently wrote a blog post in which he pointed out that most people don’t understand the issue well enough to form an intelligent opinion one way or the other. If you’ve done that research, kudos to you, but everyone can’t study in-depth every major—or potentially major—issue. That’s true for everyone, not just young earth creationists.

    As far as president Trump, even among conservatives, whether religious, political, or both, there’s no great consensus. And if you’ve got data that correlated support of Donald Trump with belief in young earth creationism, I would be very interested to see it.

    Now, what are you referring to when you talk about problems directly caused by the failure of magical thinking? Are you talking about religious wars, or what?

    As for growing up and discovering a certain undesirable and even dangerous emotion in religion, I can relate to that. I’ve seen Christianity used as an excuse for anti-intellectualism, and it drives me crazy. I’ve heard a lot of /bad/ reasons for believing in Christianity, and it frustrates me no end. I’ve seen Christians level unfair or inaccurate criticisms at atheism, and that bothers me. And this in spite of the fact that my family was in some ways suspicious of too much emotion (heaven forbid we look or sound like (gasp!) Charismatics!).

    As for “listening to god in your heart”—I’m with you there, too. It’s stupid. And it causes problems. I have a friend who—well, behind closed doors, we hole up and make fun of that kind of thing. That’s not biblical Christianity. That’s what happens when “vaguely religious talk” meets “Disney movie”. And it’s ridiculous.

    As for our own capacity for rational thought—here’s the thing. Rational thought is good. I’m not opposed to rational thought. Neither is the Bible. In fact, it explicitly says we should love God with our /minds/. (Luke 10:27) It doesn’t say we should turn our minds off and then love God. God commended Solomon for asking for wisdom (I Kings 3). Ephesians 4 exhorts believers to have a mature faith, NOT a child-like one, whatever the Christian clichés say. I Peter 3:15 says we should have an answer for those who ask us about our faith.

    Here’s the flip side: our rational thought is flawed. We all know that. You don’t have to believe in human depravity to accept it. We’re flawed. We’re finite. We’re wrong sometimes. Even a lot. That’s why people disagree. Those issues you mentioned—climate change, and vaccines, and GMOs—Regardless of which is the accurate perspective, lots of fairly rational people believe the wrong thing. (When I say fairly rational, I mean they’re rational enough to say alive, as opposed to, say, children, who would electrocute themselves as soon as they were old enough to crawl if their parents weren’t there to protect them.)

    So what to do? You and I (and I think westerners in general) instinctively want to trust our own rationality. And yet we also know that we can’t trust it completely. I think anyone who really wants to know the truth has to wrestle with that issue. Christians shouldn’t lazily invoke faith as an excuse for irrationality. And we as a group do need to face the fact that we do that far too much. But my question to you, my atheist friend, is, how do /you/ deal with the limits of your own rationality?

    One last question: what questions did religion refuse to answer, or answer incorrectly?

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    • Of course I can blame it all on religious dogma. Over 70% of the nation still claims to be Christian, and the religious right has been spewing propaganda for decades, which has changed the majority Christian opinion on abortion, evolution, and numerous other topics. Why is science so unconvincing? Because Christians are gullible. That’s why y’all fall for so many scams. Like Donald Trump, who won 81% of the white evangelical vote. The overall trend is toward secularization, and the statistics for younger generations are very encouraging (much less religion, much higher acceptance of reality).

      How do I deal with the limits of my own rationality? I’ve already explained that to you many times. The scientific method. It’s specifically designed to eliminate human bias. It’s literally the only method of finding truth that has successfully done so. That’s literally the reason I lost my religion. You haven’t been paying attention.

      See above for a list of questions you still refuse to answer. There are plenty more where those came from. I’m done with off topic comments, any further comments not about young earth creationism will be ignored.

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      • You want me to look at your list of questions and believe that the scientific method eliminates all potential for human bias? Dude, they’re loaded questions! It’s almost the very definition of bias. But as you wish, my friend.

        Let’s just look at the first one: “Why did god…give humans the genes for producing egg yolk, and a lot of other unneeded genetic code (such as a bunch of ancient virus genomes that we share with other animals), all of which makes up a significant portion of our DNA and perfectly matches our history according to evolution?” If I concede the assumptions in the question then there is no answer. This is not cool and clear-headed scientific objectivity at work here.

        Just because we don’t know why we have certain things in our DNA doesn’t mean there couldn’t possibly be a use for them. There was a time when scientists considered entire organs, like the tonsils, to be useless leftovers from evolution, and then they found out why they were there.

        Also, if those organs have no use, why hasn’t natural selection eliminated them? Or would you say it’s just a matter of time? (I’m genuinely curious about that.)

        To return to the topic of the scientific method and whether it eliminates the problem of our own flawed rationality—have you ever heard of craniology? http://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.1001071

        To justify racism, they measured the heads of people in different people groups and found that Caucasians had the largest heads (and were thus the smartest) and that African Americans had the smallest heads (and were thus the least intellectually evolved). According to the article I linked, the science was fine. The data was correct, in spite of the bias of the person doing the measuring. But was the /conclusion/ correct? Was the conclusion even scientific? Or was the whole study based on an underlying assumption?

        And 70% of the population may claim to be Christian, but that doesn’t mean they’ve ever cracked open a Bible. When I first started living in America about 3 ½ years ago, I was surprised at how biblically illiterate people were. And I’m talking about people who not only “call themselves Christian” but regularly go to churches that actually believe the Bible and preach it and teach it as being God’s Word.

        For someone who’s interested in being scientific, you’re being very sloppy with your data. Because 70% of people call themselves Christians, the religious right has been spewing propaganda for decades, and 81% of white evangelicals voted for Donald Trump, therefore young earth creationism is dangerous? Um, did I miss something? How do you know those things have anything to do with each other?

        Pretty much all advertising appeals to emotion rather than rationality, even advertisements for things that Christians (of the type you seem to be talking about) wouldn’t buy, like alcohol. Last election, the entire “campaign”, on both “sides”, was almost entirely emotionalism. Almost like the whole country, /regardless/ of religious or political beliefs, affiliations, or leanings, is—struggling to be rational right now. Most people are irrational. Most people are religious. But correlation does not equal causation.

        Besides, according to your beliefs, the only way religion could have developed and stayed would be if those who held to religious beliefs had some sort of evolutionary advantage over those who didn’t. (I’m not even going to ask how in the name of evolution religion could have developed in the first place, especially in light of the fact that animals survive quite well without any sort of belief in the supernatural.)

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      • I’m not asking why we have “some things that aren’t used”. I know perfectly well why we have them. I’m asking you how you explain, specifically, the presence of literal virus genomes scattered throughout all living organisms in precisely the arrangement they should be if we inherited them via evolution. How you explain the presence of the specific gene that makes egg yolk in all animals that would have evolved from the original egg-laying animal, even those that no longer make yolk (and, according to creationist taxonomy, NEVER made yolk and never will). Every animal shares every gene we would expect it to if they evolved, even if those genes do absolutely nothing. And we really absolutely know that they do nothing, because we can remove large portions of genomes and watch nothing happen, as the organism develops just fine. Still, they’re not useless. The presence of unused DNA provides a basis for random mutations to do their work, which very occasionally causes a dormant gene to become active again, or modifies it into something new. This is not bias, this is reality, and you have no idea what you’re talking about.

        I think your second point is supposed to be about vestigial traits, which you really don’t understand. Leftovers from evolution aren’t useless. Not always, at least. Sometimes humans are born with tails, whales and snakes are born with legs, and horses are born with extra toes (a hoof is the nail of a single specialized toe). Those are called atavisms, which is when an ancestral trait shows up in descendants after being absent for many generations. The most amazing atavism I know of is the development of dinosaur mouths, arms, and tails on chicken embryos, which only required turning off some genes. Nothing was added.

        The appendix is a remnant of an intestinal sac that was formerly used for digesting cellulose–it is a trait shared with other plant-eating animals. It has shrunken over time as our diet changed and we learned to cook our food. For a while people thought it didn’t do anything, but there’s one thing it still does: if you have a catastrophic extinction of gut bacteria, which can happen in rare cases, the bacteria hiding out in that little sac are able to repopulate the intestines. That’s literally its only function now, and yes, since we have science to save people who lose their gut bacteria, the appendix will probably continue to shrink. It will also probably continue to shrink because it occasionally kills people when it gets infected. We are losing other vestigial traits, too, for example somewhere around 30% of people are now born without wisdom teeth. Your own body is a wonderland of disappearing vestiges, you should explore it sometime.

        At this point, nearly all vestiges are well understood, and most of them are repurposed structures that have been useful all along. Sometimes we can match them to the genes and explain exactly which mutations caused the change. Sometimes the vestige loses its usefulness or even becomes detrimental. Sometimes what was once harmful will become beneficial as the environment changes.

        This brings me to the evolution of religion, which has already been extensively explained. Here’s a simple explanation of one possibility in my own words: When human tribes begin bumping into each other, they invariably start fighting because we are descended from patriarchal apes like chimps (interestingly, our bonobo cousins switched to matriarchy and have much more peaceful lives, filled with sex that’s mostly for pleasure). In the early days of human civilization, when a tribe became more than a big family, something had to provide social cohesion. Without it, they would be weak and easily conquered in the unending fight for resources, ultimately being absorbed by more aggressive and organized tribes. In the beginning, there would be one patriarch, the leader of the tribe to whom all others deferred. But when he died, sometimes there would be multiple heirs or opportunistic members who want power and struggle for control. This also weakens the tribe, and they are absorbed by…who?

        Enter the gods. Having the useful trait of being imaginary, they could transcend the span of a single lifetime and serve the role of a strong leader. It probably started with an honest attempt to explain reality, and it really is intuitive…if you know nothing about the real nature of reality. So when a story gripped a tribe, and if the story provided a strong framework for social cohesion, it would make them much more likely to overcome other tribes in conflict. As we’ve seen throughout Christian history, the gullible masses can be led to do anything, no matter how horrific, in the name of their god. So this was a very useful survival advantage.

        What changed? Technology, global population, everything about our diet, everything about our everyday life, everything. Also, we have nuclear weapons now.

        False results from improper or incomplete application of the scientific method are not the scientific method itself. Remember it is always a proper application of the scientific method which corrects such misunderstandings. At no point has a scientific discovery been disproven by the successful demonstration of magic. The opposite happens all the time. Just about every supernatural explanation in history has fallen to the revelatory power of the scientific method. As have all scientific failures that have so far been discovered. In fact, that’s precisely why science is so accurate…because it is constantly trying to make its achievements into failure. Disproving a false belief only gets you closer to the truth.

        I am keenly aware of how abysmal Christians’ knowledge of the bible is. I’m also aware that atheists and agnostics have among the highest scores in that regard of any group, including Christians. But I’m operating with the traditional definition, that is, a Christian is a person who believes any version of Christianity is true. I don’t suppose that large portions of the population are routinely lying in public opinion polls, so I accept that people who identify with Christianity are, in fact, Christians.

        All right, now on to the point. It has been demonstrated that religious people are more likely to fall for scams. I could probably pull up surveys and scientific studies, but I thought I’d cite an obvious one…the fact that the religious right wing in America is the only political party in the world denying climate change. Of course they are…their leaders have been feeding them propaganda for decades, and they believe it because they have been taught to obtain all knowledge and morality from the command of a leader. Which is theism in a nutshell.

        How do you know animals don’t believe in the supernatural? Dolphins call each other by name and have complex conversations. We just can’t understand them. Numerous other animals are demonstrably more intelligent than young humans. That’s another thing religion gets horribly wrong…

        Anyway, I’m done trying to educate you. I no longer have the time or the patience to explain the basics of whatever subject you’re dutifully misrepresenting for your god, before we can talk about the interesting details. I no longer have the time or the patience to repeat, once again, things I’ve told you many times and also written about on this blog, as you ask incredulous questions that were answered a century ago. Please, just stop acting so authoritative on things you know nothing about, and educate yourself.

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      • You keep deliberately bringing up things you know I haven’t had as much time to study out as you have, then you demand that I respond to those things and nothing else, and then when I do, you complain that I’m talking about things I don’t know about! I’ve been trying to talk about the things I actually know about, but when I do, you get annoyed. I am not a Ph.D. scientist, okay? I am not any kind of scientist. I’m a senior in college. I’m taking 17 credits and working about 20 hours a week. Sometimes I don’t even have time to respond to your comments, let alone to read up on the latest information on vestigial organs.

        If my ignorance annoys you, I’ve asked you several times to recommend a good book, and you never have. I graduate in May. I would conceivably have time to read whatever I want to read. If you don’t want to so much as recommend a book, for example, one that explains and defends evolution, I can’t help but wonder why not.

        In the meantime, you can’t prove a point by asking the general Christian public to give technical answers to technical questions. Frankly, that smacks of elitism. I like reading and studying. I like getting into the details of things, even if I don’t have always have time. I’m academically-minded. But it’s not right to act like other people, who maybe didn’t go to college and aren’t into reading and studying as much, are just stupid, ignorant, and superstitious people who couldn’t possibly grasp the truth the way “us smart people” do.

        Maybe that’s why you often get the response (or lack of response) that you do—not because people don’t have answers, but because they’re annoyed when you talk down to them. When people feel personally attacked, they’re probably not thinking as rationally as they would otherwise. I can look past that, but most people can’t.

        And by the way, it’s not like you’ve answered every question I’ve brought up, or never ignored a point I’ve made. For example, in your latest blog post, you trotted out the old “all the reasons for believing in one religion apply just as much to others.” I’ve told you before very specific and tangible differences between Christianity and some other belief systems (such as the fact that unlike Islam and Mormonism, Christianity doesn’t rely on “take my word that I saw this when I was alone in a cave”), and you’ve completely ignored it.

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      • This is my last response to you. Hiding behind your ignorance of a subject doesn’t absolve you of believing ludicrously false things about it. I’m no scientist either, and I work full time programming computers plus managing multiple side jobs and entrepreneurial endeavors. I still have the time to educate myself about things before I form an opinion on them, or the humility to refrain from forming an opinion until I have enough data.

        I bring up things that are relevant to the topic at hand, and it isn’t my fault that you don’t know anything about it. If you’re not familiar with a subject, you have no business advocating a viewpoint that contradicts the facts of it. A lot of what I’m talking about is just basic biology or geology that we should have learned in high school. That’s why I’m frustrated. I have tried to show you the mountains of fascinating facts you are completely unaware of, and you just continue insisting that your ignorance is as good as my knowledge. You claim that the facts I’ve learned are just “bias”. I ask you, what about the thousands of transitional fossils we’ve found? And your answers are nonsensical because you think those fossils don’t exist. I ask the purpose of specific DNA sequences, and your answers are nonsensical because you have no clue what DNA really is or how it works. Your inability to engage meaningfully on basic biological subjects should prompt you to re-examine what you think you know.

        I can’t always respond to every irrelevant point you bring up. I have ignored plenty of things you’ve said because they didn’t matter, mainly because they were manipulative and/or distracting from the topic of the discussion. I don’t recall specifically ignoring requests for book recommendations, but I can fulfill those now: The Blind Watchmaker, The Selfish Gene, Sapiens, The Demon-Haunted World, Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, Cosmos, Your Inner Fish, and Why Evolution is True. That should keep you busy for a while. You can also find enormous amounts of information in bite-sized segments on YouTube; I recommend PBS Eons for specific events in evolutionary history, SciShow and Veritasium for general science, PBS SpaceTime for astrophysics. And for an incredibly detailed jaunt through the history of life, follow this ongoing series by Aron Ra: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXQP_R-yiuw&list=PLXJ4dsU0oGMLnubJLPuw0dzD0AvAHAotW

        You have attempted to point out minor differences between Christianity and other religions. And I have repeatedly pointed out that those specific differences are utterly irrelevant. You almost always misrepresent my arguments and then ignore me when I explain why your repetitive responses are inadequate. For example, at the top of this comment thread you brought up the “human reason is flawed” argument again. Which is extremely frustrating since I have repeatedly explained that the flawed nature of human reasoning is precisely why science is the only reliable method of finding truth.

        And that’s why I’m done with you. Because you do not listen; you are manipulative and demonstrate an utter lack of curiosity on any subject that might contain facts contrary to your current beliefs. I don’t think you’re stupid, ignorant, and superstitious…I think you’re simply incapable of engaging with me on subjects regarding the real world because you prefer to live in a fantasy world.

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  2. Question: why do you care so much? It must have taken you a good bit of time to write that list. Why does it matter to you if some of your fellow highly evolved bits of protoplasm believe something incorrect about the origin of the world? Does it hurt anyone? And even if it did, so what? If we’re all going to die and cease to exist, and the universe itself will eventually run down and cease to exist, what difference do our beliefs and even actions make?

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    • False beliefs have real consequences because they affect choices and I’ve seen them cause enormous amounts of damage already. Anti-science beliefs in particular are a threat to the future survival of the human species. I know your apocalyptic death cult cares nothing about the future of our species and planet, but since that’s all we have, it matters quite a lot to me.

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      • I care about the future of the species and the planet. We’re not as different as you think we are. I believe there are things every human being on the planet—every one old enough to understand—cares about. This brief exchange has revealed several of them: the future of the planet, suffering, truth, and life.

        People can argue about science and evidence, and I’m not against that (as you know quite well), but sometimes, just sometimes, might it not be more meaningful to consider the things that all human beings know so instinctively that it rarely occurs to us to question them?

        What’s so terrible about death? Why should we care what happens to the planet after we die? Why do we care when other people suffer? They seem like ridiculous questions because everyone just /knows/. You and I have the same immediate visceral reaction to suffering and death, even though our foundational beliefs are different.

        You asked a lot of questions of young earth creationists. Here’s mine to you: do you think a system of finding truth just might be incomplete if it analyzes the left recurrent laryngeal nerve, but never talks about the most instinctive reactions of the human heart?

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      • I’m not going to do this again. We care about suffering because we care about survival, and part of that is our aspirations for a better future, because we’re creative, because we learned how to obtain and accumulate knowledge across generations instead of losing it when the old people died. We have great possibilities ahead of us.

        But death is the end for us. We value life because it ends, because it is not eternal. Life is precious and our future is precious because it is not forever, it will happen and then it will ultimately end. Until it does, someone will be around to enjoy the discoveries we’ve made and make new ones themselves. What we do now lays the foundation for billions more people who will take our place for their own brief moment of experiencing the universe. I’ve explained how I think about all these things many times and you have always ignored what I say, changed the subject, and tried to manipulate the conversation.

        This post is the tiny tip of an iceberg of unexplained evidence that you’ll have to account for if you want me to consider young earth creationism with anything but derision. If you want to talk about other matters, I have written on other matters already. I will not have any more conversations with you unless you can stay on subject and stop using these scammer tactics like so many other tiresome apologists.

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      • I’m not asking you to consider young earth creationism. It makes no sense to argue for how God created the world to someone who doesn’t believe that any god exists at all. Now, in your post, you asked a lot of questions. I’m talking about the nature of those questions. That’s not a random rabbit trail.

        It’s okay to point out that young earth creationists don’t necessarily have a spectacular answer to every question. I could answer many of those questions, or point you to other people who have, and you would argue about those answers, or dismiss them as “stupid and irrelevant”. Or I could point out many of the biological questions that evolution hasn’t answered, and if you had the patience for it, you could answer them, and I would point out that they were still based on assumptions, and you would deny it, and we would get exactly nowhere.

        So I didn’t do either of those. Instead, I’m asking about the underlying thoughts and feelings behind those questions, the questions behind the questions, if you will. You talk as if Christians are people-hating death-loving monsters, but while you’re intent on discussing the minutiae of DNA and varves, and heaping scorn on me and my fellow Christians, I’m the one inviting you to consider our common humanity.

        You said you value life because it isn’t eternal, but it isn’t eternal for animals, either. And while they instinctively act to preserve themselves and their young, they give no indication that they think about billions of future generations. This concern—which we both share, though we manifest it in vastly different ways—is unique to humans.

        Animals don’t like to suffer, and they may even attempt to alleviate the suffering of other animals around them, but you don’t see birds in America trying to help starving birds in Africa. Nor do you see birds in New York or California mourning because young birds were shot in a school in Florida. That level of empathy doesn’t help our survival, but it’s part of our shared humanity.

        I’m not against studying science and trying to understand the world around us using our five senses and technological equipment. But even much of our motivation for such study is rooted in reasons that go beyond science, and certainly well beyond mere survival. I submit to you that if you asked yourself (and your readership) more questions about the human motivations behind the way we do science and the reason we do it, the answers to the questions you’re asking now will take care of themselves.

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      • You care about a fantasy while ignoring the real world, you abuse facts, you use every deceitful conversational trick taught by Christian scam artists, you evade questions by pretending to “go deeper” and really just changing the subject. You see connections and patterns and intentions where they do not exist, and this type of magical thinking has damaged myself and numerous people I grew up with. At this time your beliefs also pose a threat to the future survival of our species, in more ways than one, so we’re pretty far past “let’s talk about our motivations” and deep into “crap is spiraling out of control and something has to be done.”

        This is a post about young earth creationism. Please stay on topic. If you want to know why I feel so strongly about this delusion and why it is so dangerous, I’m happy to explain.

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      • My friend, you at once give me too much credit and too little. Too little, because you seem to think that I’m just copying my conversation style from others. I know literally no one who would recommend dialoguing with an atheist by pointing out the humanity we have in common. You also give me too much credit, because while you may think my /beliefs/ threaten the species, I’m not personally influential enough for what /I/ believe to have much of an impact on the species one way or the other.

        And Mason, or Matthew, or whatever your name is, you’ve raised those types of questions before, and I’ve answered them more directly, and you haven’t liked my answers. What would be the point in going through all that again?

        And yes, I very much want to know why you feel so strongly about this. And how has it damaged you, and people you know? You’ve told me something of your background, but there’s a lot I don’t yet know or understand. And if I may, I should like to get to know you better as a person. We may discover that we have a surprising amount in common.

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      • Young earth creationism in its modern form is a radical cult doctrine that first arose around the end of the 19th century among Seventh Day Adventists. Through the work of a handful of scam artists who blatantly lied in their writings to spread the dogma, it took hold and now about 50% of this country’s population believes some form of it.

        But if you don’t understand the history of the planet, you’ll make bad decisions when considering its future. Thus, the same people who believe young earth creationism also tend to fall for scams like organic food, climate change denial, fear of GMOs and vaccines, etc. Here’s the problem: if “organic” farming practices were used for everything, billions of people would starve. GMOs are literally saving lives and curing blindness by providing higher levels of essential nutrients to poor areas of the world. Vaccines eradicated one of the most deadly diseases that has plagued our species and saved billions more from death or permanent injury. Unless we act fast, climate change will displace a majority of the world population and disrupt a large portion of fertile land we rely on for food within the next hundred years.

        And what do y’all do? Continue supporting con artists like Trump and the rest of the Republican party, like Ken Ham and Franklin Graham, like so many others, and claim your fantasy makes everything better. Your ideological ancestors did the same thing…humanity has suffered numerous disasters at every scale that were directly caused by the failure of magical thinking. When your method of finding truth is so worthless, you become incapable of assessing evidence and making reasonable conclusions. Your foundation is so askew that you can’t build anything stable upon it.

        And in my own life, where religion was very emotion-based and asking for concrete verification before believing is considered arrogant, this mindset led myself and people close to me into all sorts of preventable disasters. I discovered that my own capacity for rational thought was way more reliable than listening to the imaginary god in my “heart”. That’s how my religion ended up being torn away from me against my will. Because it refused to answer most of the questions, and when it did answer, it got everything wrong.

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      • P.S. You’ve hardly answered anything. Every time we get down to the most important questions, you evade them and change the subject. I’m not interested in your games or your pretentious “answers”.

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  3. Wow, that’s a long list.

    I’ve not read it all, though I probably should and hopefully I’ll have the time later or over the weekend.

    Anyway, having browsed the first dozen or so, my former creationist self would have answered along the lines of:
    – god may have used ‘templates’ and you’re seeing commonality in the templates and attributing it to inheritance
    – variation within species isn’t the same as inheritance across species
    – I don’t know the detail of how god did it, so what gives you the right to claims to know how he didn’t?

    Of course, now that I’ve shed the curse of the YEC, I recognise the above answers as BS. I do wonder if the YEC answers have changed in the ten years since I have.

    Like

    • That’s pretty much it, they haven’t figured out anything new. I was raised YEC so I’m very familiar with every argument. But also, most of this information was completely omitted from my education. When I finally found it, the truth was so obvious that I had no choice but to abandon my former ideology completely.

      The templates and common design arguments don’t explain our shared useless DNA, unless their god intentionally deceived us by planting thousands of broken genes in every organism in the perfect pattern to indicate evolution. The “variation within species” argument basically just restates the unfounded claim about which I later asked, “so what’s the mechanism that prevents speciation?”

      They can’t identify the original created kinds because DNA shows there’s only one kind of life. They can’t identify a mechanism that prevents new “kinds” from arising over time; anything that did would also prevent variation within species because there’s no difference between the two other than the extent of the changes. Plus we’ve directly observed speciation many times so reality would be nonsense if it was impossible.

      I keep explaining all of this and it’s remarkable just how resistant some people are to letting themselves understand new information. I can’t relate to that mindset…like I said, merely knowing these things was enough to destroy my former beliefs.

      Liked by 2 people

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