CAVEAT: Let me preface this posting by saying that I am not poking at anyone’s faith or system of religion. I don’t do that. Even when it comes to Islam, I tend to poke at the heavy political component of what they characterize as faith. If you believe that the Universe and the Earth is only six thousand years old, then you do. I disagree.
The Young Earth Idea
I have heard this Young Earth idea a few times from a few people. Pentecostal people who take everything in the Bible literally, and some Mormons (not a tenant of their faith) — have floated this to me. It came up again recently.
As with many theories such as the Aquatic Ape Hypothesis, I look at them and consider them. I’ve done that with the Young Earthers because everyone deserves a fair hearing in “my world”. I have a daughter who is interested in “Remote Viewing”. As crazy as remote viewing sounds, the CIA spent a lot of money as have the Chinese and Russians to research it and there may be something to it. There are YouTube videos on the subject.
On to the Young Earth. I found no credible evidence what-so-ever for a 6,000 year old Earth (and universe). Most Young Earthers ‘evidence’ is not evidence, but is an attack on the ‘Old Earth’. There is nothing in their approach that hints at positive evidence for a Young Earth and universe that is 6,000 years old except a blind faith that everything in the Bible is to be taken literally (no metaphors).
One thing usually presented as evidence for a young earth is the argument that there is massive uncertainty in radioisotope dating. One of the ways we date rocks, bones and meteorites is by using the half-life of radioactive isotopes to find out when a rock, or biological first formed. This is the most direct evidence that we have for the age of the earth. This of course presents a problem to anyone insisting that the earth is only 6,000(-ish) years old.
Since this counts as strong evidence for an old earth this obstacle must be removed if a young earth is to be proved. Thus the need to call into question the reliability of radioisotope dating. It is true that if the earth really was 6,000 years old then our method of dating rock really is unreliable and cannot be used as evidence for an old earth.
Whether or not you accept the reliability of isotope dating does nothing to provide evidence for a young earth. Unreliable rock dating only removes evidence for an old earth, it does not create evidence for a young earth. Young earth creationists will have to argue persuasively that it is unreliable, but it also means they cannot then use it to argue for a young earth. Without radioisotope dating the age of the earth could just as well be 21 million years or 3.5 billion years instead of 6,000 years.
This kind of argument is presented as “evidence” for a young earth, but it does not provide evidence, it only removes the evidence for an opposing theory. Additionally it does not provide an explanation for why radioisotope decay is the way it is, it only attempts to undermine the reliability of it.
Though the use of sophisticated equipment, we can measure distances in space (and time) and since space is giant clock, we can predict where objects were and where they will be, which is how we are able to sent spacecraft to different points in the solar system. The Big Clock (in the sky) hints persuasively that the universe is older than six thousand years.
Walking to places such as the Grand Canyon and looking down at the stratified rock with the Colorado river that cut it, a small blue ribbon below, invites one to ask whether that was accomplished in the relatively recent 6,000 years. There is also the presence of oil deep in the Earth, or dinosaur fossils. I asked that question of the recent Young Earther and he said that, “God can do anything.”
I’ll leave the discussion there.