Herd Mentality


“Human beings are animals whose preference for group membership is simultaneously the source of their greatest salvation and their ultimate destruction” —Xenocrates

Who has the majority of evidence to support their paradigm? Is it the Young Earth Creationists or the (mostly atheistic) Evolutionists? (Please note that as far as I am concerned, anyone else is just sitting on a very sharp fence trying to hide the pain with clever words.)

The Old Earthers, whatever their stripe (from Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens to certain young Sydney Anglicans I admire and the misguided mob at BioLogos), despite their bluff, rely on hearsay and circular reasoning. Creationist cosmologist Russell Humphreys writes:

There is a little-known irony in the controversy between creationists and evolutionists about the age of the world. The majority of scientists— the evolutionists—rely on a minority of the relevant data. Yet a minority of scientists—the creationists—use the majority of the relevant data. Adding to the irony is the public’s wrong impression that it is the other way around. Therefore, many ask: “If the evidence is so strongly for a young earth, why do most scientists believe otherwise?” The answer is simple: Most scientists believe the earth is old because they believe most other scientists believe the earth is old!

They trust in what’s called ‘circular reasoning’, not data. I once encountered such a clear example of this misplaced trust, that I made detailed notes immediately. It happened when I spoke with a young (in his early thirties, career-ambitious, and upwardly mobile) geochemist at Sandia National Laboratories, where I then worked as a physicist. I presented him with one piece of evidence for a young world, the rapid accumulation of sodium in the ocean. It was ideal, since much of geochemistry deals with chemicals in the ocean.

I wanted to see how he explained possible ways for sodium to get out of the sea fast enough to balance the rapid input of sodium to the sea. Creationist geologist Steve Austin and I wanted the information in order to complete a scientific paper on the topic.3 We went around and around the issue for an hour, but he finally admitted he knew of no way to remove sodium from the sea fast enough. That would mean the sea could not be billions of years old. Realizing that, he said, “Since we know from other sciences that the ocean is billions of years old, such a removal process must exist.”

I questioned whether we ‘know’ that at all and started to mention some of the other evidence for a young world. He interrupted me, agreeing that he probably didn’t know even one percent of such data, since the science journals he depended on had not pointed it out as being important. But he did not want to examine the evidence for himself, because, he said, “People I trust don’t accept creation!”

So, in reality, who are the free-thinkers now? Not the old earthers.

Read the full article here.

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7 Responses to “Herd Mentality”

  • Kelby Carlson Says:

    I think the fundamental misconception creationists have about evolution is that it must necessarily be proven. i believe it is a misperception of the way science works: apart from deductive logic (which I’m convinced only rests on the ultimate ground of being) there is no way to “prove” something like evolution. It is also not true that scientists don’t question the theory (or theories, as the age of the earth and evolution are really entirely separate components.) There are always going to be questions–but if a creationist is going to prove the case for a young earth, he needs to have a convincing explanation for the already provided evidence. Einstein’s THeory of Relativity not only disproved Newton, it explained why all the evidence seemed to support Newton–the closest any ID or creationist has ever come is basically saying “God did it”. But then we run into a whole new set of quanderies, like why God would make a young universe look so old if he didn’t need to–and I don’t buy the pat explanation that it is to “test our faith”.

  • Kelby Carlson Says:

    Also, i am much inclined to trust someone like Francis Collins, who headed the Human Genome Project and is convinced the DNA evidence alone is sufficient grounds for accepting evolution. Science cannot always answer every single question immediately–it is a long, arduous process. Scripture was written for a purpose: the Revelation of God to man. It is primarily pre-scientific in many ways, and if we’re going to take Genesis 1 and 2 “literally” we run into quite a host of issues. Are you prepared to reject the last 500 years of scientific advancement? Are you prepared to reject things like the theory of relativity, the theory of gravity (and yes, it is /only/ a theory), or the Copernican solar system?

  • Mike Bull Says:

    Hi Kelby

    I think Humphreys’ point is that the bulk of the evidence is actually, ironically, on the side of the YEC’s, which would mean trustworthy people like Collins would be discounting any evidence that does not support their basic assumptions. Check out Humphreys’ stuff.
    Regarding evidence for evolution, from what I can see, most, if not all, of the stuff that gets masqueraded as evidence actually proves the opposite, ie. variation is due to a rearrangement or loss of genetic information, never a gain of new information. The more we learn, the worse it gets for evolution, and the more hard hearted and high-handed these scientists become.
    Regarding an old earth, one again it boils down to one’s assumptions. Are the rings in ice cores annual? Then, old earth. But what if they are not?
    I have found more-than-plausible answers to all this stuff at http://www.creation.com If you haven’t already, I recommend reading the material on the site. The cover everything.
    Also, taking Genesis 1 and 2 as non-history actually pulls the rug out from under the rest of the Bible, and divorces it from history altogether. Plenty of articles on this blog concerning this.
    Thanks for your comment.


  • Krby Carlson Says:

    I have looked at some of it; I’m not a scientist, so I can’t really evaluate the claims on that sight. However, for a frip sight of the issue, you should check out An Index to Creationist Claims at TalkOrigins. They sen to cover a lot, form the other side. Let me know what you think.

    It’s not so much that I don’t take Genesis 1 and 2 to be history; but, if evolution is true, the ancients would not have known about it. Even if it is false, the biblical writers were not, I believe, concerned with matters of science.

    I’d still be intrested in how YECs manage to get around that, without at least an old earth, we have to ditch at least the last 50 years of scientific progress and–if Genesis 1 is taken literally–we might as well settle for a flat earth too. (Also–how exactly do YECs explain supernovas? Just thought of it yesterday).

  • Mike Bull Says:

    Hi Kelby

    Then how do you evaluate the claims on TalkOrigins? I did spent a fair bit of time reading that site, and found all their objections answered on TrueOrigin and Creation.com Also, the internet propagandists are a little less honest about the big holes in their paradigm than the hands-on guys. They are defending their religion.

    Also, the debate over Genesis is not about science, it’s about history. Genesis 1-3 totally conflicts with both old earth and evolution. And I have a post around here about what the Bible really means concerning flat earth. And there’s one about distant starlight as well:


    Not sure what you are referring to when you mention the last 50 years of scientific progress. Molecular biology totally put nails in evolution’s coffin. And the recent discovery that junk DNA is not junk at all means these brilliant fools are just fumbling around in the dark because of their false paradigm. No disrespect, but the got-it-all-sewn-up front they present is just bluster.

    Kind regards,

  • Mark Sunwall Says:

    Now the circular mechanism is so well embeded that it runs more or less “on automatic.” For the creationist the question of “origins” is really the question of how the assumption of infinite time and space was first institutionalized as the dominant world view in the context of Western civilization. I think it has been fairly well substantiated that a gnostic notion of infinity was deliberately institutionalized by certain Renaissance occultists, much in the way that American tastes for salty and sugary food is propagated by Madison Avenue. But now this prejudice has be “fossilized” in the “old earth” of civilizational consciousness…so the workings of the orignial propagators is no longer necessary.

  • Mike Bull Says:

    Very perceptive. The basic assumption has become the “common sense.” And I’ve seen a few mentions of the occultic influences revived during the Renaissance. Interesting.