Young-Earth Creationism

"The American creationist movement has entirely bypassed the scientific forum and has concentrated instead on political lobbying and on taking its case to a fair-minded electorate ... The reason for this strategy is overwhelmingly apparent: no scientific case can be made for the theories they advance."- Kenneth R. Miller, "Scientific Creationism versus Evolution", Science and Creationism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984).

A reader sent me an E-mail a while ago containing the following text, which he had quoted from someone else. He wanted to know if any of it made sense:

Actually, the only real "evidence" for a billions of years old earth model is the fact that the philosophy of evolution requires it. That's why radiometric dating "discovers" the ages they do: they triangulate based on a few "knowns," none of which really are known at all:

  1. They "know" that the solar system is about 4 billion years old -- based on the philosophy of evolution, which means they don't really know that.
  2. They "know" that potassium, Carbon-14, or whatever element they're testing decays at a certain invariable rate -- except they don't know that at all. Decay rates can change, and they don't know if the rate changed or not. Also, they don't know if the amount of daughter material was originally zero.

Let's say you're doing Uranium/Lead testing. Uranium decays into lead, so you can accurately determine an artifact's age by calculating the amount of uranium and lead, then plugging those figures into an equation with the decay rate, right?


The ONLY way to ensure accuracy is to know the following:

  1. How much daughter material (lead) was originally in the artifact? (They don't know! If X amount of lead in the artifact is assumed to ALL be decayed from uranium, when in fact some lead was already there, the artifact could test much older than it really is -- and with no way to tell whether your figures are accurate!)
  2. Did the rate of decay remain constant? (They don't know! What if it accelerated? What if it slowed down?)

Based on these "facts," which are really assumptions, they measure the ratio of uranium to lead present in the artifact -- the only fact in this whole equation -- plug in their assumptions, and voila! Dinosaurs lived 65 million years ago! Right? Well...

What about human skulls and gold chains found in seams of coal? (Oops!) What about tree trunks running vertically through quot;millions of years" of sedimentation?

Here are a few other uncomfortable facts:

The age of the universe outside the solar system is calculated based on the distance and speed of star and galaxy recession -- but this method presupposes a "Big Bang," which is far from being scientifically established. Not to mention the fact that the distances and speeds are hotly contested.

NASA expected 54 feet of dust on the Moon, assuming a 5-billion-year age. Oops! They found only 13 feet at the Apollo 11 landing site, 2 to 3 feet at Luna 16, and 11.5 feet at Apollo 12.

The Poynting-Robertson effect slows down small particles in orbit and makes them fall into the sun. In only 2 billion years, all particles less than three inches across clear out to Jupiter's orbit should have been eliminated. Oops! There are huge quantities still out there (they show up during the Perseid meteor shower every August).

All short-term comets in the solar system should have been evaporated in 10,000 years or less. Oops! They haven't!

Here's the results of radiometric Moon-rock dating: Uranium/lead and thorium: from 3.36 to 28.1 billion years. Potassium/argon: 2.2 to 7 billion years. These figures are incompatible with each other and any known solar system aging model -- if radiometric dating is reliable, that is...

Living snails have been radiometrically dated by Carbon-14 to be 2,300 years old. A Hawaiian lava flow known to be less than 200 years old was dated at 3 billion years. New wood in growing tress has been dated at 10,000 years. Oops!

Sediment on the ocean floor is an average of 1/2 mile deep, or about 8.2 x 10/17th tons. Rate of deposition is 2.75 x 10/10th tons a year. Works out the oceans can't be more than 33 million years old, even if we stick with a uniform deposition rate. And a non-uniform deposition (caused by something such as a worldwide flood) could greatly reduce the time involved by speeding up deposition.

Oil and gas deposits are still under lots of pressure, even in porous rock. That pressure is known to bleed off, and it shouldn't be there anymore if the oil fields are more than a few thousand years old.

The only way fossilization occurs is if living tissue is suddenly cut off from air and subjected to great pressure. Scientists studying the topography surrounding Mount St. Helens therefore found fossilized layers of flora and fauna created by mudslides that they know are only 15 years old -- yet they almost exactly reproduce the "millions of years" of fossilization found elsewhere on earth.

Here's the "age" of Black Hills Granite, under different radiometric dating methods:

(Which one is "right"?)

Reunion Island rocks tested similarly tested all the way from 100,000 years to 4.4 billion!

The earth's magnetic field decays exponentially, with a half-life of 1,400 years. Projecting in reverse, the earth's age comes out as -- surprise! -- 10,000 years or less.

There's a lot more (I'm just skimming my Anthro/Christo/Soter. notes from last semester). The reality is that very little evidence points to an old earth, but a lot of evidence points to a young earth, with a fossil layer caused by some sort of worldwide catastrophe.

Evolution started with the philosophy of "uniformitarianism," which says that all changes happened very, very slowly. No such thing as a worldwide catastrophe; can't be.

Except they have since needed to explain why the dinosaurs went extinct so suddenly. So now we have a worldwide nuclear winter caused by an asteroid hitting the earth. Worldwide changes in geography, topography, climate -- the works.

So why not a flood, which would do all the same things? Well, a flood is "unscientific" -- but a giant asteroid isn't! Huh?

I've carefully avoided mentioning the genealogical "proof" of the age of mankind, because counting "begats," as you put it, is not a very good method to determine passage of time. But it is very interesting that a lot of the scientific evidence points to a much younger earth than the evolutionists were (and still are) looking for, isn't it?

Did you find the article convincing? I should hope not; it's a mishmashed jumble of pseudoscience, lies, and ignorance. My first instinct was to simply hit "delete", since this was obviously just the usual young-Earth insanity. But I thought about it some more, and it occurred to me that most of the hate mail I've gotten in relation to this page has come from young-Earth creationists (from here on referred to as YECs).

I initially didn't cover YEC theories because I mistakenly assumed that most creationists weren't stupid enough to subscribe to young-earth nonsense. Sadly, if the makeup of my E-mail is any indication, it seems I was wrong. This single article happened to combine most of the arguments I've heard into a single stream of semi-consciousness, so I thought it would be good to pick it apart.

I did a little bit of homework, and discovered that this bizarre jumble of pseudoscience actually came from a website called Christian Humor (from the spelling, I'd guess that it must be an American site). The author is a guy named Greg Hartman (I hope he's not related to Phil, since I liked Phil), who claims to be a "humorist" and who has the oh-so-unusual combination of devout Christian upbringing and YEC beliefs (how strange that 100% of YECs just happen to belong to one particular religion, even though they claim their theories are grounded in science rather than religion). He has BA's in theology and journalism, both of which undoubtedly gave him the basic scientific grounding that he needs in order to authoritatively refute the entire scientific community on matters of radioactive decay rates, geology, and cosmology (cough cough).

Since he's a humourist it's tempting to assume that his article was intended to be satirical of YECs, and that I shouldn't go after him. But it's located in the "Apologetics" section of his website, which is a serious attempt to "prove" that Christianity and logic need not be mutually exclusive, so it's quite obvious that he actually thinks this garble makes sense. Sad ... very sad.

If you look at enough creationist arguments (particularly young-earth creationist argument), you will find that they are all depressingly similar. It's amazing how many different people can spout the exact same recycled arguments. There is no originality or creativity; all of them read the same journals, and paraphrase the same ideas. Many of them are so bad that they were debunked decades ago, or in some cases, more than a century ago! But the sad state of our education system means that people still graduate from high school every day without enough skills to see through this kind of nonsense.

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