Young-earth creationism is sometimes satirized as Last Thursdayism. But there are several problems with this attempt to lampoon YEC. For now I’ll focus on just two:
1. To be a successful parody, Last Thursdayism has to be genuinely analogous with YEC. But to the extent that the two positions are genuinely analogous, then Last Thursdayism fails to demonstrate the absurdity of YEC. For it’s simply a variation on the same theme. A different way of saying much the same thing. And such, the criticism is circular. If you already think that YEC is ludicrous, then you will think that Last Thursdayism is a clever reductio ad absurdum. But unless you already view YEC as ludicrous, then Last Thursdayism simply begs the question. It doesn’t actually show why YEC is ridiculous. Rather, it tacitly takes that for granted. But the reasoning is reversible. If YEC is not ridiculous, then a YEC analogue is not ipso facto ridiculous either.
2. In addition, absurdity can be context-dependent. Consider an analogue to Last Thursdayism. I wake up in a hospital bed. I don’t remember how I got there. The nurse calls the doctor.
A neurosurgeon comes into my room. He begins to ask me a few simple questions. What year is this? Who’s the president of the United States?
After I answer his questions, he tells me that my memory is faulty or out of date. Maybe I’ve been in a coma for the past 10 years. Or maybe I suffered brain damage in a traffic accident which left me with some degree of amnesia.
Under those circumstances, I may be living the equivalent of Last Thursdayism. Life began for me when I woke up from my coma (or brain surgery). I’ve lost the distinction between my past and my present. Perhaps I retain my long-term memory, but not my short-term memory. Or perhaps I retain my short-term memory, but not my long-term memory. Perhaps I retain a few flashbulb memories.