July 10, 2005, on this blog: Creationism Snapshot No. 1: Mr. Caruthers and Dawn Summers
If you’ve ever seen Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you’re familiar with the idea. The show’s fifth season introduces Buffy’s 14-year-old younger sister, Dawn. Viewers learn, eventually, that Dawn is not really 14 years old, but was created a few short weeks earlier by magical monks. In creating Dawn’s human form, the monks also created in her — and in everyone else — the memories of her birth and childhood. Their magic created years of diaries and altered old photographs so that a family of three became a family of four and that everyone in that family believed it had always been so. Apparent-age creationists like Mr. Caruthers think of God as a larger version of those magical monks, and they think of all of us, and indeed of the entire universe, as a magical, old-seeming young thing, like Dawn Summers.
At root, there’s a deliriously strange, pot-think aspect to this view. It suggests a radical, unbridgeable, gap between perception and reality. But Mr. C. wasn’t worried about such philosophical matters. And so, even as he taught us that the world was not as it appears to be, he also taught us the science of the world we can see. As long as you don’t think too hard, apparent-age creationism allows you to pursue legitimate science, to experiment and theorize about the world as it appears to be.