Thursday, March 21, 2013

Resolving YEC Problems

Several problems beg for resolution as believers in a young earth and young universe examine the modern findings of astronomers and geologists. Some news, such as the Decorah impact crater discovered in Iowa has recently been publicized. Decorah has the telltale remains of an asteroid impact 450 million years ago. Do we dismiss such scientific revelations as pure hokum? Are unique layers of shale filling the crater to a depth of 300 feet of recent origin? On analysis, the story needs some explanation for those who sincerely believe our earth is less than 10,000 years old.

The 3.5 mile wide crater is now filled with shale which conducts electricity differently than any surrounding rocks and also possesses gravity anomalies. The shale was formed from sedimentary deposits in an ancient sea which subsequently covered the crater atop layers of shocked quartz crystals, a sure indicator of a giant impact. Taken together, these features clearly outline the shape and depth of the ancient crater. There is little doubt of the crater’s existence or of its cause. The idea that the feature is young is unquestionably false.

What about Meteor Crater in Arizona? If the earth’s age is less than 10,000 years, the evidence of the meteor’s age of perhaps 50,000 years must be rejected. And what of the pock-marked, cratered surface of the moon? If the “late heavy bombardment” of the earth/moon system 3.9 billion years ago with numerous asteroids and comets were of recent origin, recent creation believers would find it necessary to explain the bombardments within a young-earth paradigm. If production of moon craters is a recent phenomenon on a recently created moon, earth craters on our gravity-strong earth would have been even more frequent. The collisions with earth would have been noted in the historic records of our culture. More likely, the heavy bombardment of space debris would have destroyed all newly created life.

The Answers in Genesis organization presents dinosaurs as recently created inhabitants of Noah’s ark. Humans coexisted with the dinosaurs, AiG claims. There is no credible historic account of human interactions with dinosaurs, according to scripture or other historic records. Radiometric dating of dinosaurs and the strata in which they were embedded puts them on earth many millions of years ago. Evidence for dinosaurs’ existence on earth from 66 to 210 million years ago is overwhelming.

Some of the most persuasive evidence for the old age of the universe is light travel speed. The age of objects in our universe is millions or billions of years as calculated by the speed of light flowing from those distant objects and our knowledge of known distances to them. There is no uncertainty concerning these ages. If young earth believers disregard such evidence, claim light speed has changed, or declare the findings of science illusory, they could embrace alternate interpretations to fit their preferences. Young earth creationists would then be forced to embrace a different interpretation of the timeline of earth history in opposition to mainstream science.

Preservation of young earth beliefs is an effort to preserve the integrity of God’s word. Taken at face value this effort is worthy of praise. Supporting beliefs attached to this praiseworthy goal, however, diverge widely from many findings of mainstream science. Therefore, young earth creationist believers hold many findings of mainstream science in contempt. One of the reasons for this contempt is the embrace of macro-evolution by the mainstream science community. This blog has repeatedly urged critical analysis of mainstream science on occasions. The evolutionist view of common ancestry, particularly molecules to man evolution, is a marked exception to the confidence we should accord to mainstream science. This exception triggers YEC lack of confidence in other totally reliable findings of science.

Young earth creationists hold a singular interpretation of the timelines of creation history according to the Genesis account. Alternate timelines of creation history are permissible according to other literal interpretations of Genesis timeframes of day (“yom”) but are not acceptable to young earth believers.  Their claim that the earth is young relates to their assertion that creation events took place several thousand years ago. They say God created the world in six days less than 10,000 years ago and devastated the earth except for the inhabitants on the ark by a worldwide flood covering even the highest mountains approximately 4,000 years ago. The original creation was paradisiacal. Sin committed by Adam and Eve caused spiritual alienation from God, but it also ruined the paradise. The physical operation of our earth was forever changed at the moment of Adam’s sin. All animal and human death originated with Adam’s sin for the first time in this universe according to the established young earth belief system.

Robert J. Schneider, formerly of Berea College, Kentucky, wrote a thoughtful analysis of the renewed embrace of young earth beliefs beginning in the late 1950s. “This contemporary creationist movement has had a widespread influence among American Protestant Christians because it offers an alternative worldview that provides security and certainty for believers living in the midst of a secularized American culture undergoing rapid changes in technology and troubling changes in social behavior.” Many believers in young earth creationism would do well to investigate the renewal of young earth fervor in the late 1950s and early 1960s along with its roots in the widespread influence of the Seventh Day Adventist Charles McCready Price (1870-1963). My previous posts bring focus to those early days of the birth of the modern young earth creationist movement: