Review by Greg Neyman
© Old Earth Ministries
The 14 January 2006 Daily Feature of young earth creation science ministry Answers in Genesis gives a sneak preview of one chapter of the new book War of the Worldviews. This chapter dealt with astronomy and the big bang.1 The very first paragraph of this preview brings up an interesting thought. Being a creationist at a secular university can be risky. Dr. Lisle, the author of this portion of the new book, knew it meant that he may not receive his Ph.D. if his beliefs were out in the open.
In order to receive a Ph.D. at a secular university, in a field such as astronomy, a creationist would have to lie on the tests. He would have to give answers that are based on an old earth framework. If he answered truthfully, he would fail. What does this say about his trustworthiness and integrity?
The article says that Lisle kept a low profile with his creationist beliefs. When he published papers, he did so under a pen name in order to protect his identity. Thus the name "Robert Newton" was used whenever he proposed young earth ideas. This double-identity to protect his graduation with a Ph.D. casts doubt upon his Ph.D. Since he had to deceive people in order to receive it, it is questionable whether or not he earned it, and it most certainly is questionable whether he deserved it. His classmates did not have to resort to deceit and treachery to graduate.
The fifth chapter of this new book supposedly shows "how to start from God’s Word in the field of astronomy and how to interpret astronomical evidence in light of what the Bible says." Interestingly, Dr. Hugh Ross, also an astronomer, does the exact same thing as Lisle, yet reaches an old earth conclusion. Thus, starting with the Bible is not the key to a right interpretation of astronomy or the Big Bang, because you can reach different conclusions from the same inerrant Bible (both men believe in an inerrant, infallible Bible). Next, the author lists things the Bible teaches about astronomy. The only issues are with points three and four.
The third point is that the entire universe was created in six days. As evidence, Lisle (or the author of this review) says "We know from the genealogies and other events recorded in Scripture that this creation happened about 6,000 years ago." The genealogies do seem to confirm that creation ended recently (6,000 years ago). However, the genealogies do not include the creation event itself. This is a common mistake made by believers in Ussher's chronology. The genealogies date the humans, who only came along as the last created organism, at the very end of the creation week. The "other events" refers to references to the creation week. However, there is no problem dividing the billions of years of creation into six time periods called days, so that it gives us the pattern for our work week.
Point four says "There are indications that the universe was supernaturally created as the Bible teaches. These evidences show God’s creativity—not a big bang." I agree that the universe was supernaturally created, but through the Big Bang. Observational evidence of the Big Bang has recently made this theory as real as the computer you are reading this on...despite the tiny problems that young earth creation science has found with it.
Lisle says that it is becoming more acceptable to challenge the Big Bang. However, these secular challenges still hold to long ages, and they are not considered serious threats to the Big Bang.
The author now goes into these serious threats to the Big Bang...the reason why "many scientists are abandoning the theory." The term "many scientists" must be understood properly. This means "young earth scientists." The secular scientists who question the Big Bang are a tiny fraction of the scientific community...not even enough to mention from a statistical perspective (if AiG has numbers, bring them forth...all they use are general terms like "many"). (FYI, the old earth alternatives to the Big Bang is called the Steady State theory and the Plasma Cosmology.)
Of compromisers (Christians who accept the Big Bang), Lisle says "They have chosen to reinterpret the plain teachings of Scripture in an attempt to make it mesh with secular beliefs about origins." There is nothing wrong with reinterpreting Scriptures...we are all charged with examining the Scriptures. All that matters to Lisle is that we reach a different interpretation...this is not a bad thing, since God tells us to examine the Bible for ourselves. The Bible makes more sense within an old earth framework, but Lisle is stuck in his traditional thinking, and cannot break free to look at the evidence, apart from his young earth bias.
Lisle totally misunderstands the history of the Big Bang. He says "When it was first proposed, it was an attempt to explain how the universe could have been created without God." Not true. When it was first proposed, the original scientist who discerned the Big Bang did not reveal it immediately, because he rightly knew that the Big Bang showed that we had a beginning, and thus, it implied we had a "beginner," or first cause. The Big Bang, more than any other scientific theory, shows that there was a starting point to our universe. It was not an attempt to explain the universe without God...the scientist who coined the phrase realized it inserted God into the creation of the universe. Young earth creationists who argue it is atheistic are blowing smoke.
Lisle lists several problems, such as missing monopoles, the flatness problem, the lack of antimatter, and missing Population III stars. These merely represent Lisle's bias against the Big Bang, as none of these issues are valid (for a review of some of the arguments against the Big Bang, and the answers, click here, and here. For more, see the links below).
Lisle points to the famous letter written to New Scientist, however, as is common with other young earth references to this letter, they fail to mention the scientists are proposing an alternative, old earth theory, and not a young earth one. Yes, there are hundreds of signees of this letter. The original was signed by 33 scientists, and this open letter can be signed by others. Given the attention this letter has recieved from Answers in Genesis, no doubt many of the signers are young earth creationists, therefore we cannot know how many true scientists have signed it, and how many have been input by eager YECs looking to skew the numbers.
As I reported on this letter earlier, it was related to funding for research. The Big Bang has a huge funding source, and the opposing old earth views get little of the money. Thus, the reason for this letter was not to eliminate the Big Bang, but to fight for funding dollars.
The author says "Lisle poses an important question: if the big bang is abandoned, what will happen to all the Christians who compromised and claimed that the Bible is compatible with this faulty theory?" The Big Bang is as solid a theory as this floor I am standing on. There is no worry from old earth creationists. Lisle is merely trying to emotionally bolster the young earth community.
This short article concludes with the statement "In conclusion, the big bang has many scientific problems." Real scientists, who did not have to deceive others to get their Ph.D, fully accept the Big Bang, and have shown that the young earth arguments amount to nothing.
Lisle is preaching to the choir. The young earth choir will readily accept the words of Lisle as gospel. However, the rest of the world (including old earth creationists who accept the Big Bang) can see right through this empty rhetoric.
For More Reading
1 War of the Worldviews Preview, Part 5, published at answersingenesis.org/home/area/wow/preview/part5.asp
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