Strange New Thoughts

The place where I slam down gauntlets and pick up the pieces.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Young Earth Atheism (YEA) – An Idea Whose Time Has Come

I know a guy who claims to believe Young Earth Creationism (YEC) on purely scientific grounds. No theological bias, just good, solid science showing the universe to have been created sometime in the last 10,000 years. Intergalactic distances, Doppler shifts, the Big Bang – illusions at best, more likely lies from the pit of Hell, or chimeras put there by God to test our loyalty. Wait, scratch that last bit. Heaven and Hell don't even enter into our conversation – this is strictly science.

But now we're stuck with a dilemma: If a young universe (i.e., one between 6,000 – 10,000 years old, as per a literal reading of Genesis, chapters 1 & 2) is to be inferred purely from scientific data, then why is it only accepted by certain Christians (this includes marginals, such as a goodly percentage of Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses)? Since YEC science itself is so good, shouldn't any honest seekers, including atheists and agnostics, be able to rule out the existence of billions of years, billions of light years, and their attendant implications?

Well, I say yes, dagnabbit! Why should the fundamentalists have all the good science? Since their data is so pure, so objective, so untainted by amoral bias, then it ought to warrant wider acceptance within the scientific community, regardless of one's personal beliefs about religion, morality, and the supernatural. Therefore, I propose the establishment of Young Earth Atheism (YEA), a means by which one can independently conclude that the universe accidentally created itself in six literal days, mere thousands of years ago. No God, no messy moral implications, just the time-honored, trusted Scientific Method interpreting all the data available to us in a concrete, unbiased manner. Because the YEC camp is clearly right (just ask them), then their science should be our benchmark. How liberating to be able to admit the silliness of every scientific sacred cow from Carbon Dating to Natural Selection, all without that troublesome Creator intruding on the scene to make the admission itself seem theologically motivated. You see, the YECers, in order to maintain their scientific honor, should be able to say that their science isn't based on biblical interpretation at all. They can disprove any scientific convention, (provided it poses a threat to a particular reading of the book of Genesis) without having to refer to the latter itself. All the scientific accuracy and intellectual honesty of YEC, without the religiosity. The war will be over!

Wait, I heard that. Silly? How could it be silly? The scientists (mostly atheists and agnostics, remember), in their rush to eliminate God from their Brave New World, caved in to apparent realities such as light traveling to Earth from celestial bodies millions or billions of years away; illusions such as the existence of death before the Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden (i.e., prehistoric predators that couldn't have lived on alfalfa and bean sprouts.) You see, they were driven to believe such crazy ideas by a desperate desire to keep that meddling God from demanding this and commanding that. Well, who can blame them? Remember, the question here isn't whether God exists, it's whether the scientific methods we employ are influenced by a desire that He should exist, or shouldn't.

I suddenly feel pressure to be serious for a paragraph or two. (And I was having so much fun!) I'm afraid that the real implication here is that religious people are the only ones capable of objectivity, that no atheist could honestly read the available scientific data without an underlying fear and loathing of something more, something supernatural, otherworldly. That religious faith is a prerequisite to honest inquiry. That Young Earth Creationists are the only intellectually honest (or even intellectual) people on earth. (A young Earth, remember.)

There's the shouting again. “How could any atheist, examining only the best and newest scientific data, conclude a young universe without also having to admit the existence of God?”

Well, I'm working on that, But if it ever happens, please let me know. A Beatles reunion can't be far behind.