How Do We Distinguish Between Young Earth Creation, Theistic Science, and Intelligent Design? – Part 2

Theistic Science

The idea of theistic science, as proposed by Christian philosopher J. P. Moreland, is to expose scientific inquiry to the world of Christian revelation.  As such, it does not actually posit a particular creation hypothesis, but instead draws out guidelines for Christians who wish to integrate theology with scientific research.  Thus theistic science, as an umbrella framework, encompasses many kinds of theistic creation hypotheses, including young earth creation.  J. P. Moreland describes theistic science as “rooted in the idea that Christians ought to consult all they know or have reason to believe in forming and testing hypotheses, in explaining things in science, and in evaluating the plausibility of various scientific hypotheses, and among the things they should consult are propositions of theology.”[1]

Moreland continues to explain that theistic science is a research program that relies on the truth of two propositions.  The first proposition is that “God, conceived as a personal, transcendent agent of great power and intelligence, has through direct, primary agent causation and indirect, secondary causation created and designed the world for a purpose and has directly intervened in the course of its development at various times (including prehistory, history prior to the arrival of human beings).” [2]  The second proposition is that the “commitment expressed in proposition 1 can appropriately enter into the very fabric of the practice of science and the utilization of scientific methodology.”[3]  Moreland’s concept of theistic science leaves the mechanisms and details of God’s intervention undefined and open to debate, and so any number of creation hypotheses that invoke God as the purposeful creator of the world fit well within theistic science.  Just as C. S. Lewis attempted to define mere Christianity, Moreland attempts to define mere creation.  What theistic science rejects is any philosophy of science that disallows the activity of a purposeful creator.  It also rejects any theology that denies the empirical detectability of God’s active intervention.  Some Christians hold that God indeed created the universe and the life within it, but they deny that these creation events can in any way be detected from empirical evidence; in their view, God only operates through secondary causes, or natural law.  Moreland allows for secondary causation, but he insists that one be open to primary agent causation as well.

Stay tuned for another post explaining how intelligent design relates to theistic science and young earth creation.

[1] Moreland, J. P, “Theistic Science and Methodological Naturalism,” in The Creation Hypothesis, ed. J. P. Moreland (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994), 41.

[2] Ibid., 41-42.

[3] Ibid., 42.

  • zuma

    a)Using coolness of the earth to compute its age with the presumption that the earth would be in molten state:
    Using coolness to compute the age of the earth might not be reliable for the fact that its computation has presumed this earth could be in molten state or in other words, it could be in liquid form.
    However, the initial stage of earth could be either in solid state that would be fully or partially covered with or without water. The water might be either warm or cold and that I do not like. If the earth would be in solid state that would cover with or without water, it would not take much time for the earth to cool down. Thus, the computation of the age of the earth by means of its coolness would not be feasible since the earth might be in solid state cover with water.
    b)Benoit de Maillet (1656-1738), a French anthropologist and diplomat, measured declining sea level and arrived the conclusion that the earth would be 2 billion years.
    His computation would not be feasible since sea level could rise as shown in the website address:
    The rise of sea level has caused his computation of the age of the earth to be unreliable.
    c)Radioactive dating method has been used to test the same stratum of rock and yet the same results (within the margin of error) would produce. The reason to explain this is simple. Using the same isotope to test on the same stratum of rock would produce almost the same result due to the same rock would produce the same unstable atomic nucleus of ionizing particles and electromagnetic radiation in spite of its spontaneous emission.
    The following is the list of some isotopes that are used for dating:
    Parent daughter half-life
    Samarium-147 Neodymium-143 106 billion years
    Rubidium-87 Strontium-87 50 billion years
    Uranium-238 Lead-206 4.47 billion years
    Potassium-40 Argon-40 1.3 billion years
    Uranium-235 Lead-207 704 million years
    Uranium-234 Thorium-230 80,000 years
    Carbon-14 Nitrogen-14 5,730 years
    Question has to be raised. If all the materials as mentioned above would have been created ever since the beginning of this earth, how could the scientists compute the half life of decay rate for Lead-206 from Uranium-238 to be 4.47 billion years? The reason is simply that the half life of decay rate for, let’s say, Lead-206 from Uranium-238, should be 0 if they would have been created at the same time in the very beginning. As the decay could be 0 if these materials would have been created in the very beginning, how could the Scientists be sure of its reliability and to use it to compute the age of the earth to be billion years?
    Besides, even if one material could be the transformation from another, how do the Scientists compute the figure of half life decay rate? For instance, how could the Scientist get 4.47 billion years or not 4 thousand years or others for Uranium-238 to decay to Lead-206? This half year decay rate that has been established by Scientists has pushed the age of the earth and even fossils, i.e. dinosaurs, to billion years. Whenever they use this isotope to test a rock to guess its age, it would give them billion of years since the decay rate has already set by them in the first place to push up to billion years.
    Thus, radioactive dating method is rather subjective and not accurate since the half year decay rate is indeed questionable.