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Answers in Genesis: Part III – Creationism (Young Earth)

<–Intelligent Design Landing Page

The basic premise of the monotheistic religion is the existence and pervasiveness of YHWH. “For in him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Using simple deductive reasoning this omnipotent and omniscient being has also credited with being the Creator. This is a cornerstone of faith for a good majority of religious people on the planet, from the hardliners in Saudi Arabia to the gentle Quakers in Pennsylvania, all affirm the presence and necessity of God for the very existence of the universe and life.

Among this larger group of “Creationists”, there is a very vocal and large group of American Christians who claim that their Genesis interpretation is not only good theology, but that it’s also good science. My favorite site is called answersingenesis.org, to whom the title of this blog series pays tongue in cheek homage. They let it all hang out at Answers.

“Creationism — that is, the idea that God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years” Gallup, 2007. 66% of Americans affirmed this belief.

To quote the site: “Believing in a relatively ‘young Earth’ (i.e., only a few thousands of years old, which we accept) is a consequence of accepting the authority of the Word of God as an infallible revelation from our omniscient Creator.” (Ken Ham) Young Earth Creationist makes a scientific claim primarily based on faith in literal scriptural infallibiity. This is at the very core of the motivation behind the Evolution debate.

As a child and young adult I was taught very typical Evangelical religious doctrine. The Genealogies in Genesis 5 were presented as clear evidence that the Bible explicitly states the creation of everything look place around 4,000-10,000 BC. This was regardless of heurmanetics, as no allegory could be claimed for what was so clearly meant to be factual.

“Then God said, ‘Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so.” Genesis 1:9

While the Garden of Eden or Seven Days could be interpreted as allegory, accepting its literal truth was important because of the Protestant dogma of original sin. The essentially states that the main reason Jesus came was to die for the sins of Adam and Eve and all their decendants. Only by believing in Jesus’ death and resurrection can anyone enter into God’s Kingdom. Only by having a literal creation and Garden of Eden could the original Protestant story make sense.

These are the primary reasons that Young Earth Creationism is still popular today. It is not evidence from the fossil record or genetics, or the lack of evidence supporting Evolution. It is because of religious belief.

Being a willful and curious child, I had many questions about what I was begin taught. Another dogma was that no shred of evidence against unlimited literal infallibility had ever been found. Nothing in science, history, politics, ethics, etc. would contradict properly interpreted scripture.

“the past history of our globe must be explained by what can be seen to be happening now … No powers are to be employed that are not natural to the globe, no action to be admitted except those of which we know the principle.” James Hutton, Father of Biology.

What I found was not what I expected. I had been warned that some people would claim that there was evidence that contradicted scripture, but that in the long run the Bible would hold up. It was explicitly stated that the burden of proof was on those who denied scripture, not on those who believed.

In the end, I concluded that no evidence had ever been found against literal scripture Interpretation because of an acute form of Confirmation Bias. For those who have eyes to see, the evidence supporting Higher Criticism is overwhelming. The evidence supporting a historical-grammatical approach to scripture is overwhelming.

Furthermore, there is not a single branch of science that has found evidence of a literal young earth. This is stunning when you consider how almost all scientists originally took the factuality of Genesis for granted. But in the end the evidence was so strong that it overcame this very powerful bias.

Believing in a young Earth today would be like living in 1850 and believing the Earth is the center of the SolarSystem. But what are good orthodox Evangelicals supposed to think about all this? Could they have possibly been wrong?

In my next blog I will talk about Creationism’s reputable step-child, Intelligent Design.

PostScript: Reading over this post, I realized I’d barely touched the surface of Young Earth Creationism. For those looking for more information, I recommend the Wikipedia article on YEC as a good place to start. I would furthermore refer you to the reference material on my “Answers in Genesis” landing page.

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24 Responses

  1. Creationism makes no sense whatsoever. It has about as much credibility as belief in a flat earth.

    • The Bible (Isaiah 40:22) said the earth was round far before it was accepted.
      The “brilliant” minds of the time all said it was flat.
      Therefore, your post makes as much sense as a flat earth.

      • While a circle is round, it is not a sphere. Besides, you pick and chose: “will you, with him, spread out the clouds, solid as a mirror of molten metal?” (Job 37:18)?

  2. Primary tactic seems to be to stomp evolution into the ground (with false arguments and lies) and then point to ID or creationism as the alternative. That’s not science, that’s propoganda.

    Good post.

    • That is a highly inaccurate statement.
      Creation science provides much evidence that the Bible model fits very well, what is found in nature today.

      • By “Bible model”, I’m assuming your mean young earth creationism. And no…the evidence doesn’t fit it. We have science to back up our statements; what do you have? Or if you mean evidence that can stand up in court, I refer you to the Dover trial. I suspect by “evidence” you mean “my confirmation bias”

  3. Calvin:
    Your “demotivator” poster is very creative.
    I have a Masters in Math and 43 hours in various sciences and am convinced that Young Earth Science (YES) is correct.
    Where are the tree rings with thousands of rings in the fossil record?
    Please check out my blog:
    AdamsLOSTDream at blogspot, THX ! ! !
    Even “The King & I” dissed Creation In Six Days (CISD).

  4. I find it very unlikely that your study of mathematics or science has convinced you that the earth is young. I can assume that you have been convinced of this through hermeneutics, due to your belief in the infallible and literal word of God.

    There is a reason you don’t find non-fundamentalist believers in Young Earth Creationism.

  5. PS: I just read your blog. Unintentional or not, you blog is a better argument for atheism than anything I’ve ever written here.

  6. To the evolutionists:
    Are you convinced of the truth of evolution because of the evidence for it; or because the alternative is that there is a God who you are accountable to?
    I encourage you to seriously consider your real reason.

  7. Mr. Miller,

    I’m not a scientist in the field of biology, so I’m not sure who the “evolutionists” are supposed to be.

    And to answer your question, yes, I’m convinced evolution is true and YEC is false because of the evidence.

    You do realize that most Christians believe in evolution, right? Don’t project your anti-scientific dogma on all the other Christians, you do them a disservice.

  8. Calvin, I would presume that most Christians believe in adaptation when given the choice, from my experiences with atheist or non believers is that they do take the bible literal in almost every aspect turning them away from god. When it comes to facts I believe faith is just as important on both sides for the THEORY of evolution is just a theory. You have to understand that there is evidence out there pointing to a higher power but such things do not get light in times we live in. The evolution handbook is a fantastic creationist book referencing everything in the book to other published articles and books. You should research polonium – 218 which is a radiohalo in granite rock. There are trillion upon trillion of theses in granite rock which is our basement rock of the earth. Granite is underneath all of our feet all over the world, and these radiohalos only form if the rock cools within three minutes. There is not one theory out there that has this earth cooling in under 100,000 years! Yet science has proven that it is the only way.

  9. b,

    Thanks for your comment. Honestly, I don’t have anything to say to you; someone who claims that evolution is “just a theory” has no understanding of what it means to be a scientific theory. Evolution is no mere “fact”, common descent is a fact. Evolution is the theory that explains that fact. It’s much more powerful than any fact could ever be.

    As to your comments on polonium, I can only guess you got that from the Young Earth Creationist Robert Gentry:
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/po-halos/

    Young Earth Creationism is a product of a literal reading of Genesis, which you deny in one breath and affirm in the next? Congratulations, you’ve managed to confuse me completely!

    Instead of getting your science from creationists, I recommend you get it from scientists. The handbook that you refer to is full of half-truths and outright lies; and all to support religious dogma. I know because I’ve read a TON of creationist literature AS a Creationist, but when I researched their claims I found they were without merit.

    I hope you are willing to take the effort to do the same; reading even one book written by an evolutionist would be a good start.

    Thanks again for commenting.

    • Your comment makes no since on how you were a creationist and nothing added up. I believe that there is a higher power because of other reasons, things that have happened to me, but creationism also now plays a higher and more faith based role in my beliefs. I used to not believe in science that had anything to do with evolution. But one day it was there. Science wasn’t as bad as I thought it was as its a platform for both sides to work from. Evolution is not science, science is science. Science isn’t always right because we make mistakes whether you believe in god or not, that’s true. What evolution has become is that overwhelming attempt to try to disprove that a higher power exists. My thing is I’m very open minded on several things and for a long time the creation of this earth, but just this one find (who even had it published in scientific journals) git to me. And can understand where you come from on taking the bible literal, but this is scientific fact. We don’t live in fantasy (or moat of us don’t at least) but this is reality and so is the half life of polotium 218. Now taken god out of the picture, everything we’ve been taught in school for 18 years doesn’t make since. Intact each one of the theories would be proven wrong from one tiny little find. Science really is only valuable if you are the one wielding it. Second I have read a few articles on evolution and been taught it for 19 years and without it I wouldn’t be as close to god as I would if it wasn’t taught in schools. I know there are some great minds out there and in no way do I condemn anything atheist except for Darwin himself. He wasnt the smartest person, and infact I laugh when I see his fish on cars because it makes me think that person also married his first cousin and had several kids who all died from birth defects and complications, so much for survival of the fittest.

  10. Sorry for how bad my posts are but I’m doing them from my phone and I lose topic pretty quick. The way I see it as a person is that there is billion dollar science and church communities that are going to take what they find and use it to prove whatever. They don’t have to release anything they don’t want to. But the more I keep wanting to find something to expand my faith both bring me what I need. You know how hard it is to find real good creation science, pretty hard really when compared to how much evolution science is out there.

  11. b,

    Hey, at least you admit that your Creationism is based on faith. That’s what it takes, no question; and you’re absolutely right to consider science a threat to faith such as yours.

    You keep talking about Polonium, did you read the link I sent you?

    If you’d actually read my post you’d know I was taught young earth creationism in Christian school. So I agree with you that what I was taught doesn’t make sense, lol!

    Honestly, I doubt you have read any “articles” on evolution, or at least articles on the subject that weren’t written by creationists. And until you do you have no leg to stand on here.

    You’re right that Darwin had some problems, just like Jesus, who was conceived out of wedlock in a time when that made you a 2nd class citizen (Deuteronomy 23:2: “A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD.)

    That’s an ad hominem attack, though; evolution is considered true because it’s the scientific theory that best fits the facts. You are right that science makes plenty of mistakes (like being religious makes you immune from that, lol!), but that assumption is built into the methodology. Try finding a religious group that assumes it’s wrong until it can demonstrate otherwise!

    Anyway, thanks again for the comments.

    • so you don’t want to believe the bible, but yet you will use pieces of it to try to discredit Jesus. If the bibe is not to be trusted, how can you reference it concerning the information regarding his birth?
      “thou protesteth too much”

      • Patriot,

        It might seem strange to you, if you have only approached the Bible with a devotional methodology. But there are many things that can be learned from the bible without “trusting” it; especially if by “trusting” you mean I don’t believe it is infallible.

        The “criterion of embarrassment” is used in conjunction with other criterion to determine the likelihood of any statement in the bible being about the historical Jesus, instead of an invention of pious followers. The bible states that Jesus was conceived out of wedlock, and it’s highly unlikely his followers would make up such a shameful fact. For this and other reasons it makes it relatively likely that Jesus was actually a bastard child.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higher_criticism

  12. What could you have possibly read that discredits creation and makes you believe more in evolution. I do have faith but we are both at the mercy of the people in change. For even the bible was translated and put into several versions over the years and there is conflict between the bibles. There are several verses I have read from different bibles that actually conflict with another. And the same goes with evolution, its a day to day thing there too. You will be taught what they want you to believe. And that goes for both of us.

  13. b,

    No problem, I was wondering, lol! I thought English might be your 2nd language, but I didn’t want to say anything just in case it wasn’t. It’s much better now; I hate typing on mobile phones.

    As to “what I read” that discredits creation, I challenge you to read ONE book on evolution that isn’t written by an creationist. Just. One. Single. Book. When you’re done with that book you can ask me again.

    But yes, direct contradictions in scripture were a key I needed to break my dogmatic believe in scriptural infallibility. You CAN believe differently than you are taught; it’s just hard. It start by being willing to read books written by people you completely disagree with. Here’s one book you might start with:

    http://www.amazon.com/Greatest-Show-Earth-Evidence-Evolution/dp/1416594787

    I sincerely hope you take me up on this. You seem to be a really nice person and I’d hate for you to be so deceived by those who twist religion to fit their aberrant dogmas.

  14. Im a Christian, and MY god is a much better architect then the young earth creationist god.

  15. calvinlawson,

    I was not surprised to see

    http://www.amazon.com/Greatest-Show-Earth-Evidence-Evolution/dp/1416594787

    mentioned as an evolution source.

    to all theist, I recommend also reading books on evolution that are NOT written by Dawkins. Dawkins has a way of injecting anti theism into every word he says, and you don’t have to deny god to embrace the warm feeling of logic you get by reading about evolution.

    • That’s an excellent point, jjj! For a Creationist interested in learning about evolution, Dawkins is probably not a good person to read due to his religious opinions.

      I would probably recommend Ken Miller; he’s a theist (Christian-Catholic) and an “evolutionist” (re: a biology professor). This book is probably a good place for them to start:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Only_a_Theory

      Warning, though, he doesn’t pander to religious fundamentalists.

      Thanks for your insightful comment.

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