Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The Creation Model

In a post at The Panda's Thumb, Timothy Sandefur says this:
[T]he reason many people complain about evolution education is because they believe that it is a kind of “religion” which is receiving preferable treatment over their own religions....There are three problems, however, with this argument. First, evolution, being science, differs from religion in that it is a testable, confirmable theory, which can be compared with observed results. The “creation model”—that is, a miracle story—is usually stated in an untestable way, and when it has been stated in a testable way (e.g., that the world was created in 4004 B.C.) such “models” have failed the tests.
Not so fast. Here's some of what Wikipedia has to say in today's featured article about the "Big Bang":
The term "Big Bang" is used both in a narrow sense to refer to a point in time when the observed expansion of the universe (Hubble's law) began, and in a more general sense to refer to the prevailing cosmological paradigm explaining the origin and evolution of the universe....

According to current physical models, 13.7 billion (13.7 × 109) years ago the universe was in the form of a gravitational singularity, time and distance measurements were meaningless, and temperatures and pressures were infinite. As there are no models for systems with these characteristics, and in particular, no theory of quantum gravity, this period of the history of the universe remains an unsolved problem in physics.

In 1927, the Belgian priest Georges Lemaître was the first to propose that the universe began with the "explosion" of a "primeval atom"....

A number of Christian apologists, and the Roman Catholic Church in particular, have accepted the Big Bang as a description of the origin of the universe, interpreting it to allow for a philosophical first cause.
The "creation model" posited by Sandefur isn't the only "creation model" put forth by religionists. Father Lemaître offered a testable model, one that seems to be holding up as fact and which is accepted by many religionists. And Father Lemaître wasn't simply trying to evade the consequences of scientific thought:
He based his theory, published between 1927 and 1933, on the work of Einstein, among others. Einstein, however, believed in a steady-state model of the universe. Lemaître took cosmic rays to be the remnants of the event, although it is now known that they originate within the local galaxy. He estimated the age of the universe to be between 10 and 20 billion years ago, which agrees with modern opinion.
Einstein posited (and later renounced) a cosmological constant so that his equations for general relativity would yield a steady-state universe rather than a collapsing one. It now seems that there is a cosmological constant, but not of the kind envisioned by Einstein: The universe is expanding at an accelerating rate because of something called "dark energy," the origins of which are unknown.

And it took a Belgian priest to point the scientific world in the right direction.

Sandefur is too anxious to paint all religionists as know-nothings. He should relent if he wants his ideas to resonate beyond the circle of ardent atheists, whose grasp of scientific rigor is tenuous, as I've explained here, here, and here.