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.

30 COMMENTS

  1. Yep, their ‘logic’ falls apart rather quickly under critical questioning, and they usually fall back on ‘anything is possible’…

    • The argument is one of “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?”

      Some people take the Bible literally but it’s a book written by Middle Easterners and is filled with metaphor. So reading it as it was written makes more sense to me. Not to some.

    • I see we are mixing faith and facts here. “I believe I have the runway in sight” is usually said right before crunching into the mountain side. a case of faith meeting up with facts.
      so long as my neighbor’s faith doesn’t keep me awake in the evening, or cause my nose to bleed, I am pretty much good with that. Who knows? they may be just as right about that as anyone else, because as they say God can do anything. who is to say how long God’s day or year is.
      I have a level of faith in radiocarbon dating for biological materials and other types of radiodating for minerals and what not. Being a trained observer, I understand that what I “see” may not be what is actually there.
      never establish a narrative then bend the facts to fit it. I had a very old professor of ethics explain that statement as defining faith.

      • Facts can change, CAPT. Faith can change as well.

        However the scientific method tends to yield repeatable (by others) results and a body of empirical evidence. There are semi-religious questions such as, “Can God make a rock so big he can’t move it?” It’s one of those questions like, “Have you stopped beating your wife?”

        Or maybe we’re all living in “the Matrix?”

        The Earth and the Universe is simply as old as it is, right?

  2. They say the universe is almost 14 billion years old. If the earth is a youngster of 3.5 billion, I suppose it would be young comparatively speaking.

    • Modern stellar science suggests (it’s just a theory) that the Sun we have is third generation. That means that two previous Suns were born and died and their “stuff” made it into our Sun. This can be inferred by the amount of heavy elements. The really heavy elements (gold, uranium, etc. were believed to have been formed when two neutron stars collided. The heaviest thing created by our star will be iron. One look at a periodic table shows that there are a lot of elements heavier than that.

      Young Earthers believe that the world and everything in it is no more than 6,000 +/- years old. They have the right to believe.

  3. I think even the 6000 year figure is questionable, as it was put together by a series of assumptions by people; long after the fact, who also had a different world view.
    “And the spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters” – doesn’t saying how long this lasted – the 6000 year people seem to assume it was for a nanosecond.

    When I went to college, I thought evolution was an established fact – taking classes in it showed (for me at least) a number of large holes. Those who went on to grad level classes would say that everything taught in undergrad was just a useful way to adjust thinking instead of being factual. I’m like – ?????.
    Funny thing is – several things taught as proof of evolution turned out to be either hoaxes, or a misunderstanding of local conditions that locals could have straightened out if only the scientists had been willing to talk to them.
    This left me with the viewpoint that saying “we don’t know” should be considered a valid scientific answer.

    I think there’s some jumping to conclusions on both sides.

    • I believe that God created the Heavens and the Earth. So I’m a creationist. I’ve read many of Daniel Dennett’s books including Darwin’s Dangerous Idea (seminal work on Darwinism) Darwin’s work on natural selection was masterful, but when he moved beyond that, things began to slip, in my opinion.

      The six thousand year figure makes no sense. It’s like the Priests of antiquity who tortured Galileo for postulating that the Earth orbited the Sun, and that it was not the center of the universe.

      There is a lot we don’t know, but I’m confident that the Universe (and the Earth) is older than 6,000 or 10,000 years.

    • The holey(pun intended) evolutionary theories got me to give a second look at creation, and I also came to believe that God created the Heavens and the Earth.
      Funny how evolution divided into two camps – classical Darwinists and Neo-Darwinists.
      Both argue that the other side is ignoring evidence that proves the others’ theory is wrong. So, as one book said, the correct view is to say that they are both right 🙂

      It’s just that I tend to get annoyed by those in both camps who jump to conclusions and then try to force evidence into justifying their thoughts.
      It seems like the evolutionists fell in love with an idea, and forced evidence; while you have some creationist organizations who fell in love with their idea and are doing the same thing.

  4. “A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.”(William James)

  5. Ah, Young Earth… I don’t think we do Holy Scripture any favors by reading it stupidly. That said, there’s problems with the accepted timeline.

    Giza just popped up out of hunter gathererism? Really? Gobekli Tepe was built by people snuffing about for roots and berries?

    Seems unlikely to me.

    • The problems with the timeline usually begin with preconceived notions and trying to fit facts to make theories rather than the other way around. I keep an open mind on most things. Clearly the space aliens who live in the Hollow Earth are real. Most of us have seen the historical film, “Journey to the Center of the Earth”.

    • It doesn’t help to call people stupid.
      The Grand Canyon wasn’t done over millennia.
      If you believe in a Noahic Flood, and look at the stratification of North America, and the relatively jagged exposed rock, a quickly formed Grand Canyon is inescapable.
      I’m keeping my options open.
      I don’t trust carbon dating. I don’t even trust police radar.
      I listen to a guy, Bob Dutko, who is brilliant. Mostly for his interviews and political analysis, but he makes a persuasive case for a young earth.

      • WAIT!

        Saying that you don’t trust police radar implies that you don’t trust the police, and the next thing that you’ll say is that you don’t trust your governor, who has your best interests at heart.

  6. LL: Your place has changed since I was last here. I’m impressed. Re: the age of the Earth, well, we’re going to have to discuss that because I’m not sure anyone knows for sure.

  7. I believe the Bible is truth.
    I also believe that we lack context for understanding a great many things.
    Ezekiel’s “wheel within a wheel” and John’s four creatures in Revelations make little sense whatsoever within a three-dimensional frame of reference. Multi-dimensional (I.e., 4+) mathematics and computer modeling using them have shown that such a thing IS possible, however. Is that what the prophet and the apostle saw? We don’t know – but we did finally have a beginning of an inkling.
    How long did it take for us to develop something capable of doing that? How long were those writings pushed aside as an embarrassing thing that could not be explained?
    How many other things do we lack the context necessary for understanding?
    Creation is far larger and more complex than we know even in this educated and enlightened age.
    I trust the Bible to be truth. I often do not trust Man’s interpretation through Man’s understanding – not even my own.

  8. My beliefs are firm, rock solid and I cannot be persuaded otherwise:

    *ketchup is never to be put on a hotdog by anyone over the age of 10.
    *owning a boat or plane is just an excuse to throw away your money.
    *Harley Davidson motorcycles are overrated.
    *Everybody hates the New England Patriots. Except Bostonians, and everybody hates Bostonians.
    *The earth is flat. At least it is from my perspective. Old and flat.
    *Arguing issues within the Bible is a massive waste of everybody’s time. You either believe or you don’t.

    • I would have expected a bullet point cautioning people NOT to eat Aunt Sally’s cooking as well. And maybe don’t eat yellow snow. And if you’re going to eat LL’s fried low carb fried chicken recipe, make enough fried chicken to make it worth the effort (it’s good cold too).

      You may deduce from this that I haven’t eaten breakfast yet.

      • Eating Aunt Sally’s food is a given, outside of the family. It goes wtihout saying, much like:

        You don’t pull on Superman’s cape
        You don’t spit into the wind
        You don’t pull the mask off the ol’ Lone Ranger
        …and you don’t eat Aunt Sally’s food.

        I got those first three lines from Joe Biden, he swears that Jim Croce stole them from him.

    • “*Harley Davidson motorcycles are overrated.”
      Heretic! Burn him, burn him!. I will agree that lately they seem to have cheapened the brand somewhat.
      You forgot “Italian bikes look grat but you need a full Snap On tool set and plenty of time to work on them, because they are real heartbreakers.”

      • Italian bikes are poetry in motion. HD has cheapened the brand but they’re still very popular. I still want to build up a knucklehead motor on a paughco frame (I’d like a rigid but would likely settle for a softail for the sake of ridability) but I don’t know if I’ll ever do it. The Ducati scratches the itch.

        • Yes, an HD knucklehead motor is the best looking engine ever built for a motorcycle. Hard tails are for those under 39, the rest of us need shocks. I would modify my overrated comment to all HD models 1952 and later. The early stuff is simply magnificent. And when AMF was in charge of HD, the term overrated is not applicable; horrid, putrid, scummy, maybe more apt.

  9. Really good food for thought post…we should re-examine our apologetics and beliefs every once in a while. It is certainly okay to discuss/argue Secondary Biblical tenets/mysteries as long as the main ones are not dismissed in the process. Reading the entire Bible in a stiff literal fashion (some is literal, some is apocalyptic, etc.) fails Scripture.

    Often the man-made doctrine tends to morph into belief, and it’s funny how this subject gets people tied up in knots as if in the grand scheme it matters. As for me, I really don’t care how old the Earth is…all will be revealed once we head off this very special rotating sphere….that pesky 100% death rate for our mortal bodies.

    Bottom line for me – as a Believer – is to be prepared appropriately. When God asks: “Did you read my book?”, I don’t want to say “Huh?, with that teenage goofy look on my face.

  10. Just randomly dropping in, here….
    One thing people tend to forget is that, Back In The Day, that 6000 year lower bound (to allow time for everything in the Bible to have happened) was OLD-Earth. Pre-Einstein, there was no respectable theory that allowed for the Sun providing anything like constant output for thousands of years, never mind billions.
    Now that we have a plausible explanation for how stars can operate over the long term, it’s reasonable to accept evidence for the Earth being old enough for geology and biology to have done their things at a snail’s, or mountain’s, pace. Before that, any theories that called for processes operating over million-year spans were pretty much crackpot material, or at least at odds with known physics.

  11. At the risk of being called one of those blind faith types, I will attempt to bring forth at least a bit of the arguments from Bible believers thoughts on a young earth, at least as far as I myself believe. First, I believe that the Bible is the actual inspired words of a God that does exist, IN THE ORIGINAL LANGUAGES. Obviously, when we don’t have an English word for a Hebrew word, it must of necessity be translated in a way that attempts to remain faithful to the meaning of the original.
    Second, one thing that I have heard from some is that God created a universe, and an Earth, with a history already existing. I myself don’t know if I ascribe to that but it is one theory that is out there.
    The number of 6,000 to 10,000 is arrived at by counting backwards from today, and going back to the original time of the creation of the Earth, as best as they can figure. We do have some dates that are certain,and which they are able to use to some extent.
    I forgot to mention that when it comes to the Bible and interpreting it, the way that I have always used is that I believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible, unless the context is obviously a metaphor. For example, most of us are familiar with the phrase of Jesus saying that He is the Door. He obviously was not saying that He was a literal door, made out of wood,stone, or some other material. He was using a metaphor to explain that it was only through His work on the cross that people could enter Heaven. Also, when seeking to understand a particular difficult passage of the Bible, I have always used the other parts of the Bible itself,rather than the opinion of some Bible scholar, to explain the meaning of the passage.
    We often hear that people say that the Bible is full of contradictions. That is not true, if you follow the rule of using the Bible itself to explain difficult parts which may cause trouble for you.
    One thing that I have to say, no matter if you are a Bible believing Christian, Jew, or any other religious or spiritual person, and that is if you find that you must through out any science and intelligence or known physics in order to prove your belief in God is real, then you are not fully understanding just who or what God is all about. The truth is, I can believe all parts of the Bible, and even looking at things in a book like Revelation,I am able to see it in the reality of today.
    Here is a passage from Revelation 9. 7 And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.

    8 And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.

    9 And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.

    10 And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.
    It is not hard to imagine that a 1st century AD man, seeing one of the modern flying machines of war, might describe it as such a thing. And I have no problem thinking that John, writing from the island of Patmos,could have been seeing a prophetic vision of an end times battle, and was describing some type of Apache gunship, or a next generation jet fighter.
    Myself, I do trust science, when the people doing the science are faithful to the scientific method, and have no agenda,other than to find the truth. Unfortunately, I think that in some cases, we have seen scientists with an agenda who have been given too much power in our modern society. I am mostly talking about the global warming scientists,and the lack of a truthful scientific accounting of the truth, instead of a race to the money.
    I don’t think that there is ever going to be any way to solve the debate of an old earth/new earth discussion,simply because of the passion of the people on the new earth side that won’t allow for any debate other than their own. And I find that doing a disservice to the God that I believe is revealed in the Bible that I trust, and have studied for quite some time. If the God of the Bible is real, then the same God is able to stand up to the scrutiny of science, provided that the science is based in truth. And if science is based in anything other than truth, it is no longer science, it is just a different version of a religion,and subject to being rejected or accepted based on nothing more than faith.
    I know this doesn’t answer any questions, or make any great revelations. I think that faith is a very personal thing, and while I am always ready to talk about my faith, I don’t force anyone to listen to my own faith. I do encourage everyone to seek truth, no matter how or where you find it. And to never stop learning or listening to people who are smarter than you. There is always someone smarter than you, and you will be surprised what you will learn,if you remain open to it.

  12. I just read through this again, and saw a typo in about the 6th paragraph. I wrote through, and it should have been throw. Sorry, my mistake.

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