Evolution and Creationism: Chapter 3
Chapter 3 of Life -- How Did it Get Here? By Evolution or by Creation? is devoted to the Jehovah's Witnesses' interpretation of the creation account. This analysis is broken down into three parts:
Let's look at each of these sections individually.
The Length of a "Day"
The Jehovah's Witnesses use the "old-earth" creationist argument -- for them, the Hebrew word yohm, which is generally translated as "day" in Genesis 1-2 can be validly translated to mean a long (indeterminate) period of time.1 Thus, the earth can be many millenia old. What is not stated directly in this section, but which is implied by a literal reading of the story of Adam and Eve is that mankind is no older than 6,000 years (determined by counting up the "begats" and ages of Adam and his decendants).
The significance of the length of a "day" is that according to the "young-earth" creationists' view, the world can be no older than 6,000 years plus seven literal days and there are number of independant dating techniques which provide consistent measurements for the age of the earth, and which establish its age at 4.5 billion years.2
The Six "Days"
Basic interpretations of Genesis are provided in simple, scientific-sounding terminology.
This section concludes by suggesting that
But, as Alan Feuerbacher points out:
|Figure 1: Prokaryotes -- one-celled organisms||
What Life proposes as evidence of the creation account is a curiosity of probability: the book suggests that guessing the correct order of the 10 major creation events is so unlikely that it only stands to reason that God informed Moses of this order. Note, however, that this arguement is evidence for divinity, and not evidence for creation.
But are things as wildly improbable as Life suggests? Let's briefly assume that Moses did, indeed, correctly "guess" the items in the correct order. These ten items include:
Life argues that describing events in this order without outside influence is comparable to randomly selecting ten numbered blocks out of a box, and getting them in order: a 1 in 3,628,800 chance. Firstly, I submit that the two situations are not analagous, because there is clearly information in the list of 10 items that obviously suggest ordering. For example, item number one ("a beginning") must obviously come first. This immediately reduces the odds to 1 in 362,880. Similarly, "land plants" must logically come after "large areas of dry land".
Further, do we have reason to believe that Moses' account is actually correct? Life assumes that the Genesis account has been proven scientifically sound, although it has not. As Feuerbacher states:
Feuerbacher argues that although science and Genesis agree that there is a beginning, they differ about the details.7 According to Big Bang theory, science can make no statement about what existed before the Big Bang, because the physics are not defined.
Further, with respect to what primitive earth was like:
Finally, with respect to life on earth:
Science may be mistaken; we may discover some time from now that new evidence suggests that the Genesis account is in the correct order. That's not the point. What is significant is that Life has argued that there is scientific evidence of the correctness of a creationist interpretation of the Genesis account based on:
Since there is no scientific agreement, the argument is unproven. The initial argument was also flawed, however, both because the use of mathematics was not correct, and because the argument was only evidence of divinity, not of creationism.
Two points seem particularly relevent in this chapter:
4 Alan M. Feuerbacher. The talk.origins Archive's "The Intellectual Dishonesty of Jehovah's Witnesses"
Copyright © 1997 by B.C. Holmes. Last updated: January 19th, 1997
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