Young earth creationism is a belief that the first 11 chapters of Genesis are literally scientifically and historically accurate, in particular that creation took place about 6000 years ago and Noah's flood was a global event. On September 22, 2004, I gave a talk at a science and theology forum at the University of Arizona on young earth creationism in the form of a Power Point presentation, which is now online.
There are 70 slides and several audio and video clips, so a high speed connection is strongly recommended. A few of the slides are rather technical, which were included to make a point at a technical level for those who are interested. Several slides are quite humorous, but most of the slides are serious.
For emphasis I have shown some text in red, including quoted text. For those slides containing sound, click on the black speaker symbol on a blue background. For those slides containing video clips, click on the link provided.
Apart from some small additions, corrections, and updates, this is mostly the same as the presentation given on September 22, 2004.
If you have any comments or suggestions, please e-mail me at email@example.com.
The Achille's Heal of young earth creationism is a satisfactory explanation for why we can see stars millions and even billions of light years away if the universe is only about 6000 years old. Even more ironic are claims made by many creationists that they know the absolute truth, but then ignore the objective evidence of the great age of the universe by saying that it is some kind of an illusion, or we can never know truth from observation.
At the time Copernicus proposed the heliocentric model, the church, both Protestant and Catholic, opposed it citing Scripture to back up the geocentric model. Galileo backed up the heliocentric model with observations with his telescope, and was strongly opposed by the church. However, in defense of the church, the evidence for heliocentricism was not as overwhelming as now, and modern scientific thinking was only just taking root. Eventually the church had to concede that it was wrong, and passages in the Bible supporting geocentricism were re-interpreted.
Young earth creationists do not have the excuses the church had about 400 years ago, as science has progressed considerably in the last 400 years, and the evidence for the great age of the universe is completely overwhelming. Moreover, young earth creationism in its present form is a modern post World War II revival. Most such creationists are not geocentricists, and do not like being equated with the geocentric views of the church 400 years ago, saying that Scripture only talks about the appearance of geocentricism, and the geocentric beliefs of the church were based on so called pagan Ptolemaic philosophy. What they conveniently forget is that nobody got the idea of heliocentricism from the Bible, but from outside empirical evidence, which was then used for isogetical interpretation, and the first known person to propose a heliocentric model was another "pagan" Greek, Aristarchus of Samos between 310 and 230 BC.
The document linked here gives ten arguments why distant starlight refutes young earth creationism.
There have been some recent (July 2005) exchanges associated with this subject. One of the talks at the Mega Conference on creationism at Liberty University was on distant starlight. A number of comments were posted on the messageboard at http://info.answersingenesis.org/mc2005/?p=42#comment for July 21, 2005, including an exchange between the speaker, Dr. Jason Lisle, and myself. Unfortunately, after Dr. Lisle's last posting, public access to the messageboard was removed. I have placed my reply on the Yahoo groups messageboard at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/creationism/message/31714, which is post number 31714. Anybody is welcomed to join and add their comments.
An integral part of young earth creationism is the concept of a global Noah's flood, even though the Bible in the original Hebrew says nothing about a global flood. Young earth creationsists believe that the global flood took place about 1500 years after the creation, i.e. around 4500 years ago.
There are a number of theories about the global flood, one of which is the hydroplate theory, where the earth was created with a layer of water trapped between the upper and lower crusts. At the time of Noah's flood the upper crust failed catastrophically, and water trapped below, known as the fountains of the deep, escaped with global catastrophic effects. One of the claims of this theory is that the asteroids between Mars and Jupiter were ejected from the Earth and put into the asteroid belt. The link below examins this claim. Note that this is all in HTML text, so no high speed connection is required.
Except for a trivial modification, the link below is an exact copy of a letter I sent to Dr. D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Ministries on April 16, 2005, where I pointed out a number of serious errors in his apologetics. Needless to say, and as expected, I have not received a reply (as of May 24, 2005).
There appear to be at least three types of young earth creationists: Type A are the professional leaders who know they are bearing false witness in the name of God, either explicitly, or implicitly using obfuscatory methods. Many of them have advanced degrees. Type B are those like D. James Kennedy who appear to have little science training and just propagate the errors from the type As. Type C are the ordinary creationists in the pew, who have little science training and generally get confused about the differences between science and faith, and how truth is handled in science. Unfortunately a misapplication of the Lutheran Dogma of Solar Scriptura and Hebrews 11:1 is often employed.
On July 11 I received a very interesting reply from a member of Coral Ridge Ministries. The e-mail is at the end of the main document.
One of the most important aspects of young earth creationism, after obviously the universe being only a few thousand years old, is an insistance that Noah's flood was global in extent, even though for nearly 200 years geologists, many of whom were Christians, found that all the evidence contradicted this. Indeed, many started with the assumption that Noah's flood was global, but were forced to change their beliefs in the light of overwelming evidence. Not only that, but in the original Hebrew the Bible never even says that the flood was global. Inspite of this, creationists dogmatically stick to a belief of a global flood, apparently inspired by the infuence of the 7th Day Adventist Church in these beliefs. The Grand Canyon is central to creationist apologetics on Noah's flood.
In late 2003 and early 2004 there was controversy about a creationist book on sale at one of the Grand Canyon visitor's centers. Linked here is a copy of an e-mail I sent on January 24, 2004, to Ms. Frances Mainella of the National Park Service concerning the book.
Young earth creationists do not like to be associated with the old geocentric views in the church, and in their defense claim that it was the Roman Catholic Church in their argument with Galileo that had adopted the Aristotelian belief of geocentricism. They conveniently forget that another Greek philosopher proposed a heliocentric model, and Martin Luther and other early Protestants were just as opposed to heliocentricism as was the Roman Catholic Church. Moreover, exactly the same arguments about the authority of Scripture used to support a 6000 year old universe can also be used to support geocentricism. Young earth creationists are thus being inconsistent if they do not support geocentricism, and are doing exactly what they accuse liberal Christians and compromizing Evangelicals of doing, namely re-interpreting parts of the Bible when it suits them.
Further informatin can be found on the link here, together with a number of quotes from Martin Luther and John Calvin.
In November 2005 Dr. Jason Lisle of Answers in Genesis paid a visit to Tucson, Arizona, and gave talks at two churches on creationist astronomy. As he has a Ph.D. in astrophysics, and as Tucson is the astronomy capital of the USA, I decided to check this out and take notes. His basic claim is that astronomy is wrong, the universe is really only about 6000 years old, and the only way we can find out the age of the universe is to read the Bible!
Click on the red arrow below to find out more of the latest exciting research in creationist astronomy.
An evangelical Christian and amateur astronomer, Gordon J. Glover, is publishing a book called "Beyond The Firmement". The book explains that a literal interpretation of the first few chapters of Genesis is completely consistent with ancient Middle Eastern cosmology. He points out that many conservative Christians apply hermeneutics inconsistently by insisting, for example, that on the one hand the days of creation have to be interpreted as literal 24 hour days, yet on the other hand "difficult" passages, such as references to a fixed earth, have to be re-interpreted in the light of science since the Old Testament was written. The book is expected to be published in May 2007.
Endorsements can be found at http://www.blog.beyondthefirmament.com/endorsements/, and my review can be found at http://www.blog.beyondthefirmament.com/2007/02/22/book-review/.