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Omphalos

June 23rd, 2003

A classic poser that first arose in debates over creation vs evolution is the notion of ‘apparent age’. The idea is that, if God created the earth, He would necessarily have done so in a way that gave it an apparent natural history. For example, even though Adam had never been born, he would, on this account have been given a navel. As (I think) Bertrand Russell observed, once we start on this, there’s no way we can stop. Perhaps the universe was created 10 minutes ago, containing us, our memories and an apparent history going back to the Big Bang.

Anyway, a couple of commentators on my first anniversary post noted that they imagined I’d been blogging for years. I had exactly the same perception when I started, with respect to people who’d only been going for a few months or even weeks. Obviously if there are any cues that distinguish newbies from old hands, they are too subtle to be picked by someone who is, by definition, a newbie themselves. More generally, the social conventions of the blogosphere are such that newcomers are absorbed very rapidly, cross-linked, added to blogrolls, and, before you know it, seem like part of the furniture.

Perhaps this will change. Blogging in the US seems much more dominated by ‘first movers’, though there’s still room at the top for high-quality entrants like Kieran Healy and Kevin Drum at Calpundit .

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  1. June 23rd, 2003 at 19:22 | #1

    I think that’s a feature of Ozplogistan. There aren’t hundreds of us, so when a new one is noticed, everyone else finds them, says hello, links to them. After a couple of weeks you don’t even notice they’re a newby. As time goes on, though, and as people’s blogrolls get substantially longer than a few dozen blogs, this practice will change.

  2. Homer Paxton
    June 24th, 2003 at 10:57 | #2

    john,
    just a little coment on your opening lines.
    No serious christian is a creationist.
    If God had wanted to tell us how he created the world he would have done so.
    The first two chapters of Genesis which creationists rely on tell us why God created the world and for who not how!

    Just for interest some of the leading writers of the Fundamentals ( from which the word fundamentalist is derived from saw no contradiction in supporting Darwin’s theory and bibilical instruction.

    The next thing you will be saying is Galileo was tried for opposing the catholic church teaching on the universe which if course is equally untrue.

  3. John Quiggin
    June 24th, 2003 at 12:06 | #3

    Homer, I didn’t mention Christianity (Adam is common to Christianity, Judaism, Islam and, I think others).

    The Omphalos argument was first put forward by the Christian writer and scientist Philip (?) Gosse in the 19th century, and has been revived by some modern Christian creationists (eg Duane Gish) but I don’t see how you can infer from my post that I’m imputing this viewpoint to Christians in general. You are quite right to say that, at least in Australia, this is not the case.

    On the other hand, I think it’s inaccurate to say that “No serious christian is a creationist.” As far as I can determine, about half of all Americans adhere to both Christianity and creationism and presumably some of them count as “serious”.

  4. Homer Paxton
    June 24th, 2003 at 14:24 | #4

    It was an inference I made because as far I can tell there are no Jewish or Islamic creationists.
    (Don’t ask me why). It was my mistake and I blame my lack of brainpower for that.

    A serious christian is a person who believes the bible is the word of God.
    There is absolutely no evidence in the bible to support creationism.
    Your statement on American christians is also incorrect (remember they poll on any subject) however the answers to questions on this broad topic I will admit are either ambiguous or contradictory or downright silly (yes it sounds like me) depending on your viewpoint last time I looked which again I will admit was sometime ago.

  5. June 25th, 2003 at 17:07 | #5

    Homer,

    There are very, VERY serious Islamic creationists. There are Hindu and Bhuddist creationists (though they believe the creation has been repeated many times) There are even, I’ve heard, atheist creationists, though I don’t know how that works. (Probably involving aliens)

    And please don’t give your own definition of Serious Christian (serious christian is a person who believes the bible is the word of God). Too many people have their own definitions (how about “person who believes Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and is part of the Trinity, but the Bible itself was written by ordinary people INSPIRED by God.”

    To say such a person (eg. myself) is not a Serious Christian is just causing trouble. Fighting words.

    They are a “Fundamentalist”, which unfortunately now has a bunch of unneccesary connotation that change the original meaning. But using “serious” is not an improvement.

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