I've given my reasons for exploration, but for the continuance, I'll refer you to a website that I go to from time to time. It's called Reasons To Believe, started by Hugh Ross, a PhD in Astrophysics along with other science fellows. http://www.reasons.org/explore/topic/age-of-the-earth
I'm somewhat familiar with Dr. Ross, but it's been decades since I read his book (IIRC, The Creator and the Cosmos
), and I don't still have it. As I recall, he argues for "Old-Earth" Creationism, as opposed to "Young-Earth" Creationism or theistic evolution. On the website, he seems to accept modern cosmology and assert that "the Bible predicted this all along!" If that's the case...
...why is Dr. Hugh Ross
so prominent? Surely we would have theological discussions of the Big Bang, the much-larger-than-Ptolemy's-Almagest
Cosmos, the vast stretches of pre-human pre-history and so on penned by some of the great minds of earlier Christianity, like Clement, Origen, Eusebius, Augustine, Aquinas, and so forth, would we not? How would YEC have even come to exist, if Christians had always known the Cosmos was incredibly ancient and large? How is it that Christians can't point to their knowledge of things like the Big Bang and expanding space for 2,000 years prior to science's discovery thereof (more if you count their Rabbinical predecessors
? If the Bible teaches what Dr. Ross says it does, Christians would have been way out in front
when it comes to scientific cosmology, instead of caught clinging to thousand-year-old Greek ideas that turned out to be wrong.
Check out the following passage from an ancient text:
Consider therefore, this further evidence of bodies whose existence you must acknowledge though they cannot be seen. First, wind, when its force is roused, whips up waves, founders tall ships, and scatters the cloud-rack. ...Without question therefore, there must be invisible particles of wind which sweep the sea and land and clouds in the sky...
...Then again, we smell the various scents of things though we never see them approaching our nostrils. Similarly, heat and cold cannot be detected by our eyes, and we cannot see sounds. Yet all these things must be composed of bodies, since they are able to impinge upon our senses. For nothing can touch or be touched except by body. [Italics in original, blue emphasis added]
Just imagine how absolutely ecstatic
any Christian apologist would be to find this in some forgotten corner of the book of Isaiah! A prediction of the existence of atoms and molecules, how scent works, sound waves and infrared radiation! Amazing! Miraculous! Unfortunately for them, this citation comes from On the Nature of the Universe
written in the First Century B.C.E.. In it, he presents a naturalistic world-view without any divine creation.
One interesting thing to note is how wonderfully explanatory
Lucretius' writing is compared to the Bible. Not for him the vague metaphors of Job or the Psalms, or allegorical tales of talking snakes and human genealogies that count back to the creation of the Cosmos!
So, given the way Lucretius' prescience decisively trumps anything the Bible has to offer (I've only barely scratched the surface in the parts I've quoted), does that prove that naturalism is correct? Would it at least motivate you to read On the Nature of the Universe
to see if Lucretius might have been on the right track, even if he was wrong about a few things?
One more thing about Dr. Ross and his website: Listen to the first few minutes of this podcast
and notice how they resort to the same question-begging and failure to Locate the Hypothesis that you do.
The podcast is a question-and-answer session with three "scholars" favorable to Dr. Ross' views. They are asked a question about the psychedelic DMT and what the experiences it generates mean. The speakers assert that the experiences people have with DMT could be:
1) Could be a total illusion based on your response to the drug;
2) Could be a physiological response that people are attributing spiritual meaning to
3) Could be opening you to a realm "occupied by demonic activity"
4) Christian faith is "set apart from other religions" because "the experiences of God we have are authentic" because we don't have to go into a trance or use a drug.
Notice how they just assume
Christianity is true and that Christian spiritual experiences [that they approve of] are authentic. #1 and #2 could just as easily be brought forward as explanations for Christian spiritual experiences. A Muslim (or adherent of some other religion) could say that Christians are opening themselves to a realm "occupied by demonic activity" (#3) by welcoming Christian mystical experiences.
#4 is riddled with question-begging. Even if Christianity is "set apart" from other religions (so that its teachings are somehow unique), why would that necessarily mean it's more likely to be true? If you've got ten people in a room, and one of them sees a purple unicorn prancing around , is that person correct just because their account is "set apart" from the others?
This "Christianity is set apart" argument is also very commonly used as a stealth circular reasoning tactic. The apologist will wax eloquent about how Christianity is the only religion where the god died for its followers, was resurrected physically, etc., and since this "sets Christianity apart" from all those other religions, Christianity must be true. Short version: Christianity is more like Christianity than any
other religion! Therefore Christianity must be true!"
Second, how do we know
that spiritual experiences had without the aid of a naturally-occurring psychedelic are any more likely to be accurate than those involving the use of the psychedelic? If the Cosmos was Intelligently Designed by one or more Creators who wanted humans to understand certain things, it would make a lot of sense for Them to design psychedelics--and human receptivity to them--into the Cosmos.
As molecules that objectively exist with objectively replicable effects, psychedelics aren't subject to the many foibles of "holy books." They can't be made up by charlatans or redacted at the behest of monarchs with political motivations. They are independent of human language and culture, so that errors of translation and misunderstood cultural idioms cannot creep in. They do not privilege certain "special people" (e.g. the allegedly "inspired" authors of holy books or clergy authorized to interpret them for illiterate masses), but offer replicable access to the revelatory experience to anyone at any time. If a Creator or Creators wanted to pass on divine revelation without human greed, power-lust, or well-intentioned fallibility getting in the way, naturally-occurring molecules--which, by definition, bear the Creators' trademark stamp--would be an excellent way of going about it. Nutshell:
These Christian "scholars" presented with a mysterious new anomaly
immediately cram it into their Christian world-view ("it's demons!") without ever considering the possibility that it could be accurate, or that if it isn't, the mystical experiences Christianity is based on could be subject to the same criticisms. They "already know" Christianity is true, so whenever they approach a phenomenon like DMT, or wield an argument like First Cause, they never actually explore the possibility-space. They start at the finish line and claim they've won the race.
The reason I keep hammering on this "Locating the Hypothesis" thing is that it isn't easy
to actually look
instead of just reinforcing one's own biases and calling it a day. Which means: one can easily fail
to locate the hypothesis that matches reality.