In the fifth book of his testable creation series, Hugh Ross (Reasons To Believe, RTB) examines the entire sweep of creation as a basis for a testable creation model. If you are interested in getting started with the RTB creation model, this is the book with which to begin your reading.
Is it science?
Dr. Ross introduces the topic of the RTB testable creation model by examining scientific complaints against creationism and intelligent design. Ross agrees that young earth creationism fails the test of scientific validity, whereas intelligent design (ID) lacks a model that provides any kind of predictive component. In addition, ID, under the "big tent" approach, has failed to repudiate the scientific unsoundness of young earth creationism. Many in the ID movement, including Philip Johnson,1 have strategized that the battle should be won in public opinion and in the political arena, instead of in the academic arena. In contrast, RTB seeks to directly compare the predictions of their testable creation model to those of naturalism, theistic evolution, and young-earth creationism. May the best model win!
Chapter 2 examines the general principles and beliefs of the major origins models. Besides naturalism, theistic evolution, and young-earth creationism, Dr. Ross defines the beliefs of old earth creationists, ID theorists, framework theorists, progressive creationists, and concordists.
Different strategies have been employed by different groups in order to "win the battle" over the question of origins. The strategy of evolutionists seems to be to declare victory and hope that the public buys it. However, according to the latest polls, the strategy does not seem to have worked in the U.S., since the majority of Americans still believe in some form of creationism. Although a minority of scientists believe in God (~40%), the percentage has not changed significantly over the last century. The strategy of ID has been to become religiously neutral (in order to be taught in schools and to avoid possible "separation of church and state" issues) and stick mostly to evolution bashing. However, this strategy has resulted in the lack of the ability to produce any kind of testable model. Other strategies have included separate magisteria (Stephen Jay Gould) and God of the gaps (atheists). RTB has taken an integrative approach, in which both scripture and the record of nature are combined into a single testable hypothesis.
An objective testing method
Chapter 4 is an introduction into the scientific method and how models are prepared to test hypotheses. Examples are given about how past models have been useful to examine the origin of the universe. Reasons To Believe wants to expand the data upon which origin models are constructed, mostly through the reliance upon a more interdisciplinary approach.
Resources and standard for RTB's creation model
Chapter 5 examines how the RTB model was developed, including the biblical data (27 major creation passages in the New and Old Testaments), and the data from nature (109 major areas in which data is available). Also included are model building principles, including an emphasis on the simple sciences (mathematics, astronomy, and physics) over the more complex sciences, such as biology.
Putting RTB's model to the test
The next five chapters comprise the "meat" of the book, in providing specific areas that makeup RTB's comprehensive model. These chapters include RTB's model for galaxies, stars, and planets, life's beginning and extraterrestrial homes, life's history, advanced life, and the origin and history of humanity. Each chapter includes the biblical basis for the RTB model, along with the relevant scientific data. Chapter 10 is a summary of the more extensive testable creation model found in RTB's book, Origins of Life: Biblical and Evolutionary Models Face Off. Chapter 12 is a summary of the testable creation model found in Who Was Adam?: A Creation Model Approach to the Origin of Man. Chapter 13 is a summary of Dr. Ross' recent book, Why the Universe Is the Way It Is.
Putting new atheist cosmic models to the test
Chapter 14 examines the models put forward by the "new atheists," including Richard Dawkins, Victor Stenger, Stuart Kauffman, among others. Ross goes on to show that design is found on all scales - from the universe itself and the laws of physics, all the way down to atomic level. Many of the atheists attempt to escape the implications of design involve a variation of the gambler's fallacy, in which the extremely improbable is elevated, through the use of logical fallacies, to the point of being extremely likely.
Putting RTB's model to the U.S. constitution test
Chapter 15 is probably the only chapter with which I disagree extensively. Dr. Ross does an excellent job examining the legal history of teaching creation science in the public schools, along with the Supreme Court's rulings on such teachings. Dr. Ross points out correctly that the courts have largely ruled against the teaching of young earth creation science, which was shown to lack scientific merit. Dr. Ross concludes that RTB's testable creation model would pass this test of the courts. However, Ross does not take into account the Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District ruling, in which not only was it found that ID was not science (because of the lack of testability), but in which it was also found that ID was creationism in disguise, and, as such was a violation of the establishment of religion clause. This ruling was primarily based upon documents that linked the ID book Of Pandas and People, in which drafts were shown to replace the word "creationism" with "intelligent design" following the Edwards vs. Aguillard ruling in 1987. It is pretty obvious that the RTB model would not be permitted to be taught in public schools, even if it were scientifically valid, since it is based upon the Christian scriptures (Old and New Testaments).
Using predictions to test models
Chapter 16 compares and contrasts predictions made by major origins models. Chapter 17 compares the scores of naturalism, young earth creationism, theistic evolution and the RTB creation models on the basis of published data since 2006. These results show that the RTB model's predictions performed much better than any of the other three model's predictions for the simple sciences, complex sciences, and social sciences.
The final chapter examines means by which various opposing groups avoid direct testing of models, but instead resort to fear, Christophobia, science phobia, censorship, and stultification. Instead, Dr. Ross proposes an emphasis on integration of scientific disciplines in order to examines the big picture. Any valid model should integrate to provide a coherent explanation of all available data. According to Dr. Ross, because most proponents tend to avoid discussion of opposing viewpoints, interest in the sciences is waning, since there is "no controversy."
Additional information is provided in the appendices. Appendix A provides additional information regarding the Bible as the origin of the scientific method. Appendix B provides additional evidence for fine tuning. Most of this information is available online at http://www.reasons.org/links/hugh/research-notes. Appendix C links to a web page that contains RTB model (along with naturalism, theistic evolution, and young-earth creationism) predictions at http://www.reasons.org/resources/predictions.
Hugh Ross' latest book is an excellent overview of the RTB model as it relates to the universe, the earth, the origin of life, and the origin of humanity. In addition, it provides an excellent introduction into how the model was developed and how it can be compared to competing origins models. The RTB model makes predictions about future scientific discoveries, and challenges proponents of other models to make their own predictions about what their models expect to find in future scientific studies. Instead of resorting to name calling, ridicule, fear, and personal attacks, RTB challenges others to issue predictions from their models to see which models produce the best results in the coming years. It would be nice to see such comparisons, but I don't see naturalists or young earth creationists being willing to put their models on the line.
- Origins of Life: Biblical and Evolutionary Models Face Off
- Who Was Adam?: A Creation Model Approach to the Origin of Man
- Why the Universe Is the Way It Is
- A World of Difference: Putting Christian Truth-Claims to the Worldview Test
- I had the opportunity to meet with Phillip Johnson a few years ago. When I suggested that we produce a creation model, his response was that "we should not use the tools of evolutionists." However, a model is actually a tool of science, as a means of allowing the testing of a hypothesis. Without a model, a theory is not testable and will never gain acceptance in scientific circles. However, Johnson was only interested in winning over public opinion, so that ID could be taught in schools.
Last Modified February 15, 2009