What is the proper epistemological paradigm for determining the content of the New Testament canon? On what basis can a Christian confidently assert that the twenty-seven books that now comprise what we call the New Testament are divinely endowed with Scriptural authority?
The “young earth” teaching introduces an unnecessary and erroneous tension between Scripture and science that has confused many and I have personally met many people who have turned aside from their faith due to what they see as the impossible challenge of trying to reconcile that understanding of Scripture with the clear scientific evidence. They end up being neither ‘old’ or ‘young’ earth and worst of all not believing that God is the Creator at all.
So confident was David Hume about this principle that he said, humble man that he was, “I flatter myself that I have discovered an argument…which, if just, will, with the wise and learned, be an everlasting check to all kinds of superstitious delusion, and consequently, will be useful as long as the world endures.”
Different people have varying levels of tolerance for mystery and ambiguity. Individuals with a high need for cognitive closure are more prone to walk away from the Christian faith than individuals with a lower need. For some people, in order to be content within one’s worldview, satisfactory answers must exist to all possible questions and objections that might be raised against it.
The Bayesian formulation of biological design arguments is, in my opinion, deserving of greater attention. Bayesian inference is widely used when dealing with design in the physical sciences. Perhaps the time has come for this structure of argument also to be used in design arguments in the life sciences.
In my judgment, what matters with an apologetic system is primarily its adherence to sound principles of reason and secondarily its persuasiveness. Arguments that are unsound can be persuasive to the uninitiated, and the apologist must resist the temptation to compromise his intellectual integrity by forsaking sound principles of reason for the sake of effectiveness.