A friend of mine related to me his experience in having spent years in charge of software development
teams. He was often asked to "just hire more developers" to deliver software sooner than the estimated time it would take to see development through. As such requests often bordered the absurd
, so he told me, he would use this line -- "you can't hire 9 women to make a baby in a month" -- to make the point. He explained it to be effective in dispelling some degree of tension
-- some things just take time to develop and adding more resources to hurry the process may even do more harm than good!!
I find a strong parallel here to certain arguments raised in discussions of wholesale Creationism
as against slower unfolding processes of the development of our Universe. Just as my friend's years of software development have led to frequent disquietations as to the ability to achieve unrealistic goals by brute lumping of resources, so have I in my years of theological
study often been asked to believe that Creationist accounts are justified by similar questioning of radiocarbon dating
, the age of stars
, and the constancy of the speed of light
-- my parallel to my friend's software as pregnancy analogy is the baking of a cake
, or perhaps a pie. An apple pie
. Mmmm, pie. Yes, I do like a pie analogy (and not simply because I can make pi
jokes). What I usually explain with this theme is that if a pie must be baked for sixty minutes at 400 degrees, you can't fudge the timing by baking it for six minutes at 4000 degrees!! And, you can look at a finished baked good, and if you know anything at all about baking
, you can tell about how long and at what temperature it has baked from the initial mix of uncooked ingredients required to get to the point where it is at now. And let me assure you from my own experimentation on the matter, where the recipe requires an hour at 400 degrees, neither six minutes at 4000 degrees nor six hours at 40 degrees will yield anything like what you are looking to achieve by that recipe!!
Scientifically, this plays out in so many variations as to boggle the mind -- in the time it takes for species to achieve a set level of evolution
by natural selection away from a common genome
following a geographic split; in the time it takes for continents to drift apart from one another
; in the time it takes for mountains
to rise through compression
folding when continents collide; and in the time it takes for rivers to carve canyons
into the Earth. Unscientific arguers have many sorts of notions of how a single swift cataclysm could explain this landform or that, but these ideas are ultimately as shallow as the level of inspection required to form such a belief. Any deep and invigorating investigation into the nature of all sorts of landforms -- mountains and valleys, icebanks, glaciers, volcanic islands, continental rifts -- will show the inimitable signs of its slow and steady development over millions of years (unless it's one which really did crop up quickly, in which case the signs of quick events will abound). And in each such case, some corresponding indications will likely be discernible in the very DNA
of the life occupying the land. The counterproposition of action faster than the signs of age would allow is akin to proposing cake to have been cooked for a few milliseconds at a temperature equivalent to the surface of the sun, or for a baby to have been made in a few minutes by a sufficiently large number of women.