Absurdity after Absurdity after Absurdity

by Luke Muehlhauser on October 2, 2009 in Funny,Video

And that’s just the first few chapters of Genesis!

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

IntelligentDasein October 2, 2009 at 6:45 am

lol at the snake with the mustache and top hat.

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danielg October 2, 2009 at 1:08 pm

This mocking video has so many problems, i don’t know where to start. But start I will.

1. 4000 B.C.

Despite the fact that many mock at the YEC contentions, and despite the existence of OECs, the YECs have some really interesting and good arguments, not the least of which is the recently discovered intact DNA and cell structures is presumably millions of year old dinosaur bones. Age of the earth and universe theory is based on a lot of assumptions, many of which may still be questionable, even if uniformitarian geologists and astrophysicists feel otherwise. I just don’t think that the YEC position is absurd unless you are more interested in mockery than science.

BTW, please excuse my links to AIG (below), since most atheists despise them. However, they are the best source for the YEC reasoning. And despite their frequent reminder that they believe the Bible first and science second, they really mean that rather than taking someone else’s assumptions first, they take the biblical model and try to explain the data using that model. Data is not true or false merely because the Bible model says so, they only doubt CONCLUSIONS that differ w/ the biblical model. So check out their reasoning regarding the data, not their Biblical assumptions. They are NOT appealing to the authority of the Bible, per se, but are trying to rely on science and reason to INTERPRET the data to fit their model. I think we all do that.

2. Starlight not reaching the earth for light years

There are at least two reasonable explanations for this, though perhaps they have not been proven. One is, if the stars were created early on in the universe’s expansion, then they were much closer, so the light may not have had to travel that far. Also, though the theory has fallen into disfavor among YECs, it is possible that the speed of light was different (faster) in the earlier universe, or that the intense gravitational and other forces of the earlier universe could have affected space-time pretty seriously. Much of this is discussed in the book Starlight and Time. Don’t know if you’ve read it.

It is also very possible that, in a bounded universe, while stars are forming at the ‘outer edges,’ what takes a ‘long time’ there is actually only occurring in a very short time here. Think Einstenian physics. (This is Humphrey’s theory):

He postulates that the universe is expanding but bounded. This would have been like a white hole at the time of Day 4 of creation. A white hole is similar to a black hole, except that matter emerges from a white hole rather than being absorbed. A bounded universe would have a center, and the gravitational field would cause the fabric of space-time to distort. According to Einstein’s principles, time will flow more slowly near the center of a bounded universe than it will closer to the edge. Humphreys showed that if our solar system were near the center of the universe, then what would appear to be millions of years worth of stellar processes could have occurred in the depths of space, while only 24 hours elapsed on earth.

See also:
Light-travel time: a problem for the big bang
Does Distant Starlight Prove the Universe Is Old?

3. Appearance of Age and Fossils

This very strange doctrine is not really held by mainstream Christians, or Creationists. It was just some weird sidebar theory of people who tried to explain the millions of years theory and the YEC theory in a strange hybrid. If you assume, as I do, that the earth and fossils are NOT millions of years old (hence the existence of intact DNA and cell structures), then this stupid ‘appearance of age’ theory becomes even more moot than it is.

BTW, a recent Noahic flood does explain the geologic column and fossils very well, and is substantiated by such things as ‘out-of-Place’ fossils, transcontinental rock layers, polystrate trees and coal seams (trees that cross many layers that were supposedly millions of years old), gross disagreement between various dating methods, etc.

4. Sun / Stars / Light

This apparent contradiction is merely a lowbrow way to intimate that the bible is somehow contradicting itself. However, considering that the Bible’s historical records are often phenomenological rather than scientific (e.g. ‘the sun rises’ is a true phenomenon even if scientifically that is not what is happening), a pure scientific reading of it will naturally lead to misunderstandings and apparent contradictions.

There are perfectly good explanations for the order of creation and the use of those three terms, and why they are not duplicative or contradictory. See A Critique of the Framework Interpretation of the Creation Account, which actually describes the many more complex frameworks that attempt to harmonize these ideas.

However, this conundrum can be easily explained in many ways. The confusion comes, funny enough, when skeptics try a plain, literal reading when it suits them (kind of like when Christians take a metaphorical one when it suits them ;). But seriously, the simplistic ‘sun, stars, and light are all the same’ assumption is a modern, scientific one, not a phenomenological or semi-metaphorical one. You ASSUME you know what the author means by ‘light.’ You *assume* that the author doesn’t know that the Sun is a star, when perhaps he is just highlighting that one as something more important than the distant stars.

There is no *real* discrepancy here, just some poetic license and some ignorant skeptics who know or care little of how to interpret a text. One possible explanation?

Day 1: Light = An initial explosion of energy from nothing. This is consistent with the big bang cosmology. Essentially, the creation of time, space, energy, and perhaps matter. No ‘light emitting bodies’ yet.

Day 4: God creates the sun, moon, and stars.

5. God operating in Darkness

Whatever. Foolishness.

6. The danger of Adam’s nakedness

Again, this is really not an argument at all, but mockery. But I note that thorns, perhaps blood-sucking insects, and UV radiation may not have been a problem before the fall and flood of Noah. So probably, being naked was not a big deal. He was also probably not a white Aryan as the cartoon displays.

7. God changing his mind about man

This anthropomorphizing of God may cause theologians and philosophers pause, but there is nothing inherently illogical about this. Just because God is omniscient does not mean that such failures of man were unknown to Him – in fact, the book of John says that Jesus was ‘slain before the foundations of the world,’ meaning God DID know in advance.

So, why did He let it happen? I’ll let you ask Him. Some mysteries may remain so. Some things are NOT mysteries, and we should take heed to those. While this may seem ‘absurd,’ to you and I, it is not inherently inconsistent.

8. The forbidden fruit

Again, this may seem absurd, but it is not logically impossible. A better question than “do I believe it” is “is it true?”

9. The Problem of Evil

The perennial, and important argument against the existence of the Biblical God. cf. Bill Craig.

10. Talking Snake

I’ll agree with you there, that’s hard to defend, but still not enough to reject faith. I’m sure you’ll take issue with my lack of concern here, but your lack of concern for what can be determined about the life and sayings of Jesus is perhaps more radical. You are definitely on the riskier, and less logically tenable side of Pascal’s Wager.

11. Eternal Torment

This, of course, is another major objection to Christianity. Again, while this may seem unjust to us, it may be that our self-interest and sinfulness give us a skewed idea of what justice really is. I mean, watch the news. Child rapists getting no time in jail, and some judges consider that justice because the rapist was abused.

One note on eternal torment – it may be justified because the condemned person actually continues to sin by cursing God, thereby driving his own continued judgment.

Again, I’d not ask “do I like it” but “is it true?” Of course, we use reason and our ideas of what is just to determine such, but sometimes the truth is other than what we would prefer, and based on values, principles, and truths that we are not aware of.

CONCLUSION

While this video does touch on a few important arguments against God (problem of evil, eternal torment, talking snake, forbidden fruit), to just rant about the absurdity of such is merely a rant, not an argument. I suspect you know that. I’d retort that this video is largely absurdity after absurdity.

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Jeff H October 2, 2009 at 1:37 pm

danielg,

Before trying to put forth arguments defending YEC, it’d be much easier for us all if you’d have a look through this list to make sure your arguments have not already been seen, heard, and answered time and time again. It saves you the time of typing it all out, and it saves us the time of reading it. Thanks.

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danielg October 2, 2009 at 2:31 pm

I could, but then again, if I don’t buy their refutations, can’t i repeat them? Perhaps we need to index these arguments and just refer to them by index number? :D

BTW, another interesting take on this subject is in the book The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate. Check out the description:

John Walton argues convincingly that Genesis was intended to describe the creation of the functions of the cosmos, not its material nature. In the process, he elevates Scripture to a new level of respectful understanding, and eliminates any conflict between scientific and scriptural descriptions of origins.” —-Francis S. Collins, head of the Human Genome Project and author of The Language of God

I’m not sure how this relates to YEC/OEC.

But again, I was just responding to the constant stream of ridicule that masquerades as intelligent reasoning. Absurdity after absurdity, to use a phrase.

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Gordon October 2, 2009 at 3:55 pm

danielg: I could, but then again, if I don’t buy their refutations, can’t i repeat them?

Logically it would be impossible to buy/understand/accept the refutations and remain a YEC. Then again there’s no logic to YEC so…

Magic Man Done It.

Creationism is wishful thinking. You wish the bible was true so you wish the world conformed to its poorly thought out origin stories, and you wish you didnt need to resort to things like changing the speed of light or the rate of radioactive decay to try to make it fit, and you wish people wouldnt laugh at your explainations…

Seriously, just live in the real world. Losing all that wishing is actually a huge weight off your shoulders!

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Justin G October 2, 2009 at 4:08 pm

danielg:

I am going to assume that your criteria for a sound argument requires non-fallacious logic. Given this, you will consider an argument invalid if it is fallacious, or illogical. Therefore, the effort it takes to read the arguments is beneficial if it reduces the effort you would spend arguing something that you wouldn’t have had to argue since you could resolve the argument by reading the list. Thus, if the arguments on the list are logical and non-fallacious, it will be beneficial for you to read them, again assuming you will agree with the argument if it is logical and non-fallacious.
The assumption here is then that the arguments are in fact logical and non-fallacious. Considering evolution is a scientific theory, it is derived from, and only from, logical and non-fallacious criteria. To refute this would be to refute science, and thus, observation, and consequentially, that would mean concluding that my hand exists by observing it would be illogical and a fallacy.

Despite this, even if you don’t agree with the arguments, you could at the least learn how people will approach your claims, allowing you to think of responses in advance. You could also more readily provide sources if you knew in advance what sources were relevant to countering counter-arguments.

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ayer October 2, 2009 at 6:05 pm

I see…the video devastatingly refutes an ignorant and infantile interpretation of Genesis. Impressive. I’m sure Francis Collins, Ken Miller and William Lane Craig are quaking in their boots.

Straw man fallacy: “A straw man argument is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position. To “attack a straw man” is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by substituting a superficially similar proposition (the “straw man”), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.”

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Justfinethanks October 2, 2009 at 7:38 pm

Straw man fallacy: “A straw man argument is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position. To “attack a straw man” is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by substituting a superficially similar proposition (the “straw man”), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.”

It can only be a straw man if no one holds the position being attacked. But according to Gallup, 44 percent of the country believes that God poofed human beings into existence within the last 10,000 years (which was actually about the time that inhabitants of present day Iran started making obsidian knives and inhabitants of East Asia started cultivating Millet). Attacking a position that millions of people hold to hardly qualifies as a straw man.

an ignorant and infantile interpretation of Genesis.

I, and every other atheist on the planet agree with you. People like danielg who read Genesis and think that this is a literal, actual account of the history of the planet are “ignorant and infantile” in every sense of the words. But your beef isn’t with us, as we agree that a straightforward and literal reading of Genesis isn’t how things went down in the real world. Your problem is with the danielgs of the world who hold to these “ignorant and infantile” beliefs. So why do you seem to be more angry with the people who point out how silly a literal reading of Genesis is, rather than the people who actually hold to a literal reading?

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IntelligentDasein October 2, 2009 at 9:18 pm

Ayer: Does something have to devastatingly refute something to be funny? Learn how to chill out and enjoy something. Jesus Christ.

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lukeprog October 2, 2009 at 9:33 pm

ayer,

This is not a straw man. YOU may not believe this, but millions and millions of Christians do. Another point to be drawn from this is that such a silly story probably wouldn’t exist in a book authored directly by an all-knowing and all-wise God.

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ayer October 3, 2009 at 9:06 am

lukeprog: ayer,

This is not a straw man. YOU may not believe this, but millions and millions of Christians do. Another point to be drawn from this is that such a silly story probably wouldn’t exist in a book authored directly by an all-knowing and all-wise God.

It IS a straw man if it claims to make the case for atheism vs. Christianity. It may make the case against young earth creationism, but so what? It’s as if you have refuted the claims of the flat earth society–big deal. Young earth creationism is not synonymous with Christianity.

On your second point, I see no reason to believe that God would refrain from communicating in the Bible regarding creation through the use of metaphor and parable.

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Lee A. P. October 3, 2009 at 1:07 pm

“Young earth creationism is not synonymous with Christianity.”

It is in the United States.

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ayer October 3, 2009 at 2:34 pm

Lee A. P.: “Young earth creationism is not synonymous with Christianity.”It is in the United States.

Only if you exclude the Catholic church, all the mainline Methodists, Presbyterians, Anglicans, Lutherans, etc., etc., etc.

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Justfinethanks October 3, 2009 at 7:25 pm

Only if you exclude the Catholic church, all the mainline Methodists, Presbyterians, Anglicans, Lutherans, etc., etc., etc.

About half of mainline protestants and a three quarters of evangelical protestants are creationists. Which explains why over a hundred million Americans hold to the YEC position. And if attacking a belief that a bit under half of a country holds to qualifies as a “strawman,” then the term has no meaning.

If this video was attacking the coherence of the trinity, would you accuse that of being a “strawman” of Christianity because Unitarians exist?

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ayer October 3, 2009 at 8:09 pm

Justfinethanks:
About half of mainlineprotestants and a three quarters of evangelical protestants are creationists.Which explains why over a hundred million Americans hold to the YEC position. And if attacking a belief that a bit under half of a country holds to qualifies as a “strawman,” then the term has no meaning.If this video was attacking the coherence of the trinity, would you accuse that of being a “strawman” of Christianity because Unitarians exist?

If the point of posting the video were to only address YEC, and to imply no criticism of Christianity generally, then I would agree it is not a strawman. However, lukeprog removed that possibility with his comment that “Another point to be drawn from this is that such a silly story probably wouldn’t exist in a book authored directly by an all-knowing and all-wise God.” Refuting YEC implies no such “point to be drawn from this.”

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Justfinethanks October 3, 2009 at 8:57 pm

However, lukeprog removed that possibility with his comment that “Another point to be drawn from this is that such a silly story probably wouldn’t exist in a book authored directly by an all-knowing and all-wise God.”

But you made the “strawman” accusation BEFORE Luke made that comment. Are you now saying that the video itself (which a no point argues that YEC is necessary for Christianity to be true) isn’t attacking a strawman, but somehow Luke’s “posting” of it is?

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ayer October 4, 2009 at 8:23 am

Justfinethanks:
But you made the “strawman” accusation BEFORE Luke made that comment.Are you now saying that the video itself (which a no point argues that YEC is necessary for Christianity to be true) isn’t attacking a strawman, but somehow Luke’s “posting” of it is?

I am saying that Luke’s comment revealed the original intent behind posting the video, which was to attack not only YEC but the truth of Christianity generally.

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lukeprog October 4, 2009 at 10:36 am

ayer: I am saying that Luke’s comment revealed the original intent behind posting the video, which was to attack not only YEC but the truth of Christianity generally.

Yes, the above video points out absurdities that are relevant to Christianity, not just YEC in particular. If these absurdities are in the supposed word of God, you can get by with cherry-picking these verses as being ‘metaphorical’, but a metaphor FOR WHAT? Absurdities? Either literal or metaphorical, Genesis doesn’t look the work of an omniscient God. It looks like the work of Iron Age superstitious barbarism.

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ayer October 4, 2009 at 11:05 am

lukeprog: Either literal or metaphorical, Genesis doesn’t look the work of an omniscient God.

How interesting that you know exactly what an omniscient God would and would not give us in terms of written communication (you were expecting mathematical formulas, perhaps?) Genesis reveals creatio ex nihilo thousands of years before it was confirmed by the big bang model and the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem.

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lukeprog October 4, 2009 at 11:47 am

ayer: How interesting that you know exactly what an omniscient God would and would not give us in terms of written communication (you were expecting mathematical formulas, perhaps?) Genesis reveals creatio ex nihilo thousands of years before it was confirmed by the big bang model and the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem.

ayer,

Yes, I think it’s highly improbable that an omniscience God would communicate to us by means of absurd metaphors that we never understand, and only lead people away from the faith.

Re: creatio ex nihilo. There were only two options here. Either the universe began to exist, or didn’t begin to exist. It’s not surprising that the Bible got something right on a 50/50 change. Everything else in the creation story is very, very wrong, as we now know. I suppose you are now going to claim that the creatio ex nihilo is to be taken literally, but the rest is a metaphor for… who knows what?

Moreover, its debatable whether the Bible describes creatio ex nihilo. There was apparently some kind of primordial chaos which God used to form the earth and more, under some interpretations of Genesis.

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ayer October 4, 2009 at 1:08 pm

lukeprog: Either the universe began to exist, or didn’t begin to exist. It’s not surprising that the Bible got something right on a 50/50 change.

It is interesting that now that the atheist theory of the eternal universe has been proven wrong, atheists have decided that “it’s not surprising” that the Bible got it right. The Bible sure did a better job than, say, the esteemed Carl Sagan:

“In many cultures it is customary to answer that God created the universe out of nothing. But this is mere temporizing. If we wish courageously to pursue the question, we must, of course ask next where God comes from? And if we decide this to be unanswerable, why not save a step and conclude that the universe has always existed? [Carl Sagan, Cosmos, page 257]”

Of course, the answer to Carl’s question is that we don’t conclude that the universe has always existed because science has proven otherwise (thus confirming Genesis), as Alex Vilenkin pointed out:

“It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning (Many Worlds in One [New York: Hill and Wang, 2006], p.176).”

lukeprog: Everything else in the creation story is very, very wrong, as we now know.

If the description of the creative process is allegorical, then why are you expecting a scientific textbook account?

lukeprog: I suppose you are now going to claim that the creatio ex nihilo is to be taken literally, but the rest is a metaphor for… who knows what?

Creatio ex nihilo is simply an assertion of truth that “God created the universe out of nothing.” It does not get into the scientific details of that creation (e.g., did God create a quantum vacuum out of which the singularity emerged as a subatomic particle? etc., etc. Describing the process in scientific terms is a job for science, not the Bible; the Bible has given us the basic truth that any non-scientist can grasp).

The rest of the creation story is an allegory that tells us: we were made in the image of God, we rebelled against God, as a result we are beset by sin and under condemnation, and therefore need redemption. That information is of massively greater existential import to human beings than the most intricate understanding of the evolutionary process, which is why even adherents of YEC (with all their scientific ignorance) understand a far greater truth than the most brilliant atheistic evolutionary biologist.

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Lee A. P. October 4, 2009 at 1:14 pm

“It is interesting that now that the atheist theory of the eternal universe has been proven wrong”

Never heard of a mutli-verse aye?

YEC creationism explains nothing. Its theories have been shat upon from the highest mountain tops of general intellectual discourse. If pathetic asinine theories like Flat Earth are stupd on a scale of 10, YEC is a 9.5.

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ayer October 4, 2009 at 4:33 pm

Lee A. P.: “It is interesting that now that the atheist theory of the eternal universe has been proven wrong”Never heard of a mutli-verse aye?YEC creationism explains nothing. Its theories have been shat upon from the highest mountain tops of general intellectual discourse. If pathetic asinine theories like Flat Earth are stupd on a scale of 10, YEC is a 9.5.

Borde-Guth-Vilenkin establishes a beginning for either a single universe OR a multiverse; it applies to both models. See:

http://tinyurl.com/ydx9yf9

and

http://arxiv.org/abs/gr-qc/0110012

The multiverse is typically the atheist attempt to respond to the fine-tuning of the universe, not to the fact that it is not past eternal

On YEC, I agree that it is bad science. But at least the YEC’ers get the existence of God correct; an atheist biologist or physicist may have the scientific details correct but misses the most important truth of all

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Jorg March 6, 2010 at 1:11 am

ayer: Borde-Guth-Vilenkin establishes a beginning for either a single universe OR a multiverse; it applies to both models. See:http://tinyurl.com/ydx9yf9andhttp://arxiv.org/abs/gr-qc/0110012The multiverse is typically the atheist attempt to respond to the fine-tuning of the universe, not to the fact that it is not past eternal  (Quote)

Ayer: I believe a lesson in reading comprehension is in order. Without going into the mathematics of Vilenkin et al’s proposal, the abstract to their paper says: “Many inflating spacetimes are likely to violate the weak energy condition, a key assumption of singularity theorems. Here we offer a simple kinematical argument, requiring no energy condition, that a cosmological model which is inflating — or just expanding sufficiently fast — must be incomplete in null and timelike past directions. Specifically, we obtain a bound on the integral of the Hubble parameter over a past-directed timelike or null geodesic. Thus inflationary models require physics other than inflation to describe the past boundary of the inflating region of spacetime. ”

Note that “new physics” part? Yep, that is what M-theory and LQG are both groping towards.

Gadzooks, I am so tired when people bring a high-school geometry cheat-sheet to a algebraic topology exam.

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