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Omphalos

The following is an exchange that occurred on the talk.origins news group:


David Johnston:
OK, assuming that "God" created light in transit from the stars so that we can see 60 billion light years away, the question remains.

What are we seeing?

Totally imaginary stars?

Stars the way they would have looked long before they were created?

How does that work?

Tim DeLaney:
It seems to me that it's an all-or-nothing question. That is to say, whether we look at starlight falling upon the garden of Eden, the bellybuttons of Adam and Eve, or just the dirt under their feet, we are looking at fictitious history. IMO, The theology of the Biblical literalist must necessarily adopt a full-blown version of Last Thursdayism. Every tree on the newly created earth implies a non-existant sapling. Every breeze implies the wings of a faraway butterfly. Causation itself is quite inconsistent with Biblical literalism.

Richard Harter:
It's not that simple IMO. It is the kind of apparent history that is relevant. The universe, life, and everything (TM) has to have an apparent history because the whole shebang is an on-going system. The relevant question is the nature of that apparent history. If it appears as though the past were just like the present (except for the details) then the shebang could have been created at any time. The problem for the creationists is that (if it were created in situ recently) it was created with the appearance of an ancient history that was quite different from the present.

Let me give an example from computer operating systems. A modern computer OS is irreducibly (and unnecessarily) complex. A lot of system data files and system routines have to be present for the damned (whether that adjective is literally appropriate is an issue I leave to theologians - I have my opinions though) thing to run at all. During the course of operation it has the marks of history and an apparent past. It very looks, however, as though it had been running indefinitely (except for certain OS's which habitually do not run indefinitely). Now we know that this is a false image. When the machine starts up it goes through a boot phase in which various bits and pieces are put in place and a start-up sequence is negotiated. Once the OS is up and running the record of events that happened during the boot phase are, in effect, erased.

Something like this is what the creationists believe creation to have been like.


This page was last updated April 1, 1999.

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