Posted by richard on April 29th, 2012
What astounded Carroll when he looked into chiropractors arguments against vaccines, he said, was that they were essentially identical to the ones used by creationists and other anti-evolutionists. Indeed, they are the same arguments used over and over in all kind of denialism. As such, Carroll suggested, they represented a kind of “General Manual for Denialism.”
The six listed arguments were to:
1) Cast doubt on the science. (“Vaccines aren’t proven.” / “Evolution isn’t proven.”)
2) Question the scientists’ motives and integrity. (“Vaccine researchers just want to profit.” / “Evolution researchers just want more grant money.”)
3) Magnify any disagreements among the scientists; cite gadflies as authorities. (“Vaccine researchers disagree, but this chiropractor knows best.” / “Scientists can’t agree how evolution would explain this, but this creationist has all the answers.”)
4) Exaggerate the potential for harm from the science. (“Vaccines could harm your kids.” / “Evolutionary thinking leads to genocide.”)
5) Appeal to the importance of personal freedom. (“Patients should have the freedom not to get vaccines.” / “Students should be free to learn all the theories for how life arose.”)
6) Object that acceptance of the science would repudiate some key philosophy. (“Vaccines threaten acceptance of chiropractic.” / “Evolution undermines the Bible.”)
These are other questions theistic evolution raises for the Bible believing Christian. How can we uphold the special dignity and majesty the Bible accords human beings when we are only qualitatively different from other life forms and continuous with the rest of the animal world? How can God impute sin and guilt to all humans along the lines of federal headship when some of us have no physical connection with Adam? Likewise, if we are not all descended literally from one pair, how can we all have an ontological connection with Christ who only assumed the flesh of Adam’s race?
exactly why is the physical connection to adam so important if God imputes both sin and righteousness? it seems to be a way of trying to understand the justice and love of God, why does this have to deal with genetics? it appears to have everything to do with the nature of justice and love not with augustine’s hangups about sex and the bodily transmission of sin.
what is uniformitarianism in the yec debate?
it’s actually an interesting issue.
first-it capitulates the rise of modern geology. there was a roughly 100 year see-saw discussion between catastrophists and gradualists. it’s the same set of issues we see in the various great extinction events. meteors, volcanoes, ice ages vs slow climate change, evolutionary dead ends, disease etc. until the geological strata becomes settled with the noahic flood excluded by the data.
second-it usually makes reference to presuppositions. or uniformitarianism becomes a presupposition.
the idea is that God can’t do miracles in science therefore creation events are unjustly ruled out beforehand therefore evolutionists must propose just those forces we see today operating backwards into the distant past. according to them, there can be not radical discontinuities like a 7 day creation or a noahic flood from God for man’s sin.
i see it as a way to demand miracles whether or not those miracles leave physical evidence from the past visible now. the problem is that the big miracles of the new testament, virgin birth, resurrection, even raising lazerus don’t leave marks in the world for you and i to find. those old testament miracles, creation, flood, sun stopped moving, the walls of jericho come falling down — do. and they are not there.
i believe YECism actual confuses these two issues. gradualism vs sharp discontinuities and expectation of miracles vs natural forces projected into the past. i think this is why you see YECs talking about “hopeful monsters”, it is because the religious mind is thoroughly supernaturalistic, it expects, even demands that God acts in ways they can see and point to as evidence. this versus the more lutheran idea of God’s invisibility, His hiddenness. i would point to the constant discussion of the end of times in those same communities that are YEC, this is the ultimate discontinuity, of God breaking into history.
meteors or volcanoes are natural phenomena with great abrupt potential. we see both in action today, we project these events on a catastrophic scale into the past. i’d argue that this is still uniformity of cause and effect, not a miracle. it is the miracle of the flood or 7 day creation or even the unique creation of Adam from clay and Eve from Adam’s rib that people are trying to preserve by saying science is a slave to its presupposition of uniformitarianism and therefore can not be trusted when it talks about these great events of the past.
i think a profitable way to look at the issues is to see the modern YEC as a miracle hungry believer. from tongues to armageddon, from healing services to the flood, there is this eager expectation of God, the continuous miracle worker. it has a lot to do with community/church expectations about what kind of relationship God has with both the world and with His flock.
YEC’s tend to be a package deal, a specific hermeneutic, a type of ecclesiology, a marked anti-intellectualism coupled with a democratic populism. i think that is why teaching like Ken Ham’s AiG has made such amazing inroads in the community, it is tailor made, it fits with all the rest of the pieces.
one curious thing is that places like AiG claim that these verses do not support geocentricism but were misinterpreted back then.
another interesting situation is that you can read the geocentric websites, then replace the terms geocentric with young earth and the arguments are exactly the same as AiG’s. common sense, man in the pew understanding of Scripture requires: flat earth, geocentric, young earth, demon possession not germ theory, slavery with hierarchical great chain of being society, God and the angels live heaven just outside the stars-moon-sun orbit/sphere, satan lives in hell just under our feet, etc. the problem is to explain our relationship to these elements of an ancient worldview not to explain them away.
there are multiple ways of recognizing this problem.
galileo’s way of expressing the purpose of Scripture (how to go to heaven not how the heavens go), makes some elements-the purpose of, more important and these things incidental. is one way.
another way is AiG’s way of accepting some elements of a modern world view: germ theory, spherical heliocentric, no slavery and claim the Bible never did support opponents. and claim that other elements of the world world do conflict-age of the earth.
another is the liberal way of progressive revelation, God has revealed more to us then the ancients so we believe differently.
another way is drawing the distinction between using and teaching as binding on subsequent believers.
another is to draw the big picture out of Scripture that is divorced from these particular issues then translate it into the current worldview. the most common way used when preaching. this is how slavery gets transmuted into rules for employees, for example.
i think the only invalid way is AiG’s ignorance of history to deny anyone ever thought these verses supported geocentricism, too much like the memory black hole for my tastes. i dont want to forget my ancestors fight for slavery, i want to understand their error.