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Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Attack of the Young Earth Creationists


Quick honey! Turn off the lights and hide underneath the table, the Young Earth Creationists are coming! - Anon.

It's interesting to me that internet skeptics are often quite quick to be dismissive of Christians and their belief system while lumping the vast majority of them together as, quote "Young Earth Creationists". Young Earth Creationism can be described as "the belief that the age of the Earth is between 6,000 and 10,000 years old" and is sometimes posited as a competing, alternative origin of life theory to that of Evolution.


What I find interesting about such dismissal out-of-hand by internet skeptics is that many Christians do not believe in a so-called "young earth". For example, neither William Lane Craig nor Stephen C. Meyer adhere to the idea that the earth is that young and instead subscribe to the guesstimates put forward by many geologists and others that the earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old.


I found the above picture in my inbox yesterday because that I am on the mailing list of Coast to Coast AM, an internationally syndicated radio talk show on late at night here in the states. The guest that was on a couple of nights ago was Michael Cremo who spoke on the topic of "Forbidden Archeology" which can be described as the act of "exploring the artifacts and discoveries that don't fit into conventional timelines and theories.". Cremo apparently has some questions concerning Darwinian evolutionary theory and rather than arguing for a "young earth", he instead attempts to provide information on, what he terms, "extreme human antiquity". The provided link states,

"In 1968, 43 miles northwest of Delta, Utah, William J. Meister found apparent human shoe prints inside a 2-inch-thick slab of rock. Also in that slab were obvious trilobite fossils, one of which was squashed under the “heel.” (The 10-inch-long shoe print is at the left, and its rock mold is to its right. Notice how the back of the heel is worn, just as most of our shoes wear today. The heel was indented in the rock about an eighth of an inch deeper than the sole.)

According to evolutionists, trilobytes are among the oldest living organisms on earth. Trilobites were a Paleozoic marine animals living 600 to 280 million years ago, and have been extinct for at least 200 million years. Further validating this dating, the shale rock of the area is from the carboniferous period (290 to 355 million years ago).


Cremo stated that the above picture was from "William Meister's discovery of an apparent human shoe print in a slab of rock in Utah which also contained a crushed trilobite fossil in the bottom of the print.... Even more ancient are metallic balls with grooved sides found in an African mine, which are over 2 billion years old, he said." (Note: I don't have the link for the "metallic balls" example, but if anyone is aware of one, feel free to post it in the discussion thread).

Let me just say that none of the above is actually central to my faith. I am of the opinion that if a discovery were to be made in the near future that throws the entire, commonly accepted timeline of the planet's history into doubt, that scientific knowledge would continue to develop on much like it is today. An acid would still be an acid. A base would still be a base. Water would still boil at 212 degrees Fahrenheit and life would go on pretty much like it is right now.

I guess what I'm trying to gt at here is that I do not understand the unusual amount of venom hurled at YEC'ers, (usually from skeptics who believe they are the renegade defenders of "good science") due to their profoundly held beliefs. Nor do I think that the issue is the most important topic out there while there are people suffering in this world and there are numerous threats to the freedoms that we in the West typically enjoy.

So I guess the question is, "Why all the venom out there on this topic?". Your thoughts on the matter please...



UPDATE: Froggie, in order to expedite your response, I took your patented first step in responding to an entry of this type and I will link it here.

32 comments:

Gregg said...

The reason for the venom is simple. If the idea of a young earth that did not evolve and was created men would have to admit to the existence of a Supreme Being with the power to create. That creative power would then be extended to cover mankind. Man, apart from God's Holy Spirit, hates God, hates his righteousness, holiness, sovereignty and must take all efforts to eradicate a sovereign creative God from existence.

Those who by faith, accept and belief in a young and created earth are a threat to them. We stir in their God given conscience that there is a higher power that they are absolutely accountable to. If they are accountable then they must submit.

Mankind is too ego-centric to willingly submit to anyone one let alone a being who creates.

The venom is there simply becasue if we are right they are wrong. They will not admit to being wrong. Men love darkness rather than light.

Froggie said...

Hi JD!

First of all, I was chiseling on a piece of wood this morning and the chisel slipped, I ended up with a deep one inch gash in by left first finger almost to the bone, and it took off half the nail (without going any depper!) of my left middle finger.

I kept pressure on it for an hour and the bleeding slowed so I superglued it together and but a bandage on it. Thus I am stabbing away with my right first finger, which necessitates my effort for bevity.

Now, thanks for anticipating my objections but I got a google page referring to articles about the spurious discoveries that you mentioned and which you claimed have no effect upon your beliefs. It looks like Gregg is a YECer who belives that faith in Genesis is central to his beliefs.

With that baseline:

"Cremo stated that the above picture was from "William Meister's discovery of an apparent human shoe print in a slab of rock in Utah which also contained a crushed trilobite fossil in the bottom of the print...."

"Apparent" is the operative word there and there is absolutely no evidence that it is a human footprint. Enough of that. I'm looking out the window at a cloud that looks loke Charles Darwin :)

Next:

"I guess what I'm trying to get at here is that I do not understand the unusual amount of venom hurled at YEC'ers, (usually from skeptics who believe they are the renegade defenders of "good science") due to their profoundly held beliefs.

While there may be some venom out there, it doesn't figure into my calculus on the rhetorical arguments on YE Creationism. You refer to them as Renegade defenders...so be it.
There are quite a few fundamentalist Christians outthere that use the "Riposte" style rhetoric and I find it disgusting and vile.

Finally:

"So I guess the question is, "Why all the venom out there on this topic?". Your thoughts on the matter please..."

One man's venom is another man's cure.

I don't get a bit upset when a Christian tells me "You are a heathen and you are going to hell and I can say that because the bible says so and supports my claim," but they seem to get upset when I say, "you are ignoring all of the major branches of science to believe in those silly myths, and I have good science to support that."

I think the "venom" comes from frustration on both sides. Of course it is counterproductive, but humans will be human, as they say.

Now, to Gregg.

"Those who by faith, accept and belief [sic] in a young and created earth are a threat to them."

That is not true. YEC is no threat to me at all.
Never has been.
As you say, you "believe" in a young earth by faith.
You are then a presuppositionalist. I am an evidentialist, since as long as I can remember.
I look at the veracity of evidence and take that where it leads me.
I do not "believe" in an old earth. I have studied the evidence and the evidence is bulletproof in that it shows a very old earth.

My finger hurts. Bye for now.
Have a great day, All.

JD Curtis said...
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JD Curtis said...
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JD Curtis said...

"Apparent" is the operative word there and there is absolutely no evidence that it is a human footprint

Well, the linked article states...

"The heel was indented in the rock about an eighth of an inch deeper than the sole"

That would support the idea that a human being made the print in question. Not outright prove it. But it steers the evidence toward that being a possible explanation.

I find it interesting that (I assume) you never actually saw the photograph up above before today or in person either and yet you feel confident in claiming that "there is absolutely no evidence that it is a human footprint". Interesting.

But wait, it gets better......

"In 1944, as a ten year old boy, Newton Anderson dropped a lump of coal in his basement and found that it contained this bell inside. The bituminous coal that was mined near his house in Upshur County West Virginia is supposed to be about 300 million years old! What is a brass bell with an iron clapper doing in coal ascribed to the Carboniferous Period? According to Norm Sharbaugh’s book Ammunition (which includes several "coal anecdotes") the bell is an antediluvian artifact (made before the Genesis Flood). The Institute for Creation Research had the bell submitted to the lab at the University of Oklahoma. There a nuclear activation analysis revealed that the bell contains an unusual mix of metals, different from any known modern alloy production (including copper, zinc, tin, arsenic, iodine, and selenium)." Link with photo.

Well, how about it Frogster? Is there "absolutely no evidence" that this is a man-made bell? And trust me, this is not the only item to have ever been found inside a lump/vein of coal.

And if your finger is hurting you then don't worry. There's no hurry here and you can get back to responding to this in your own sweet time of course.

Jquip said...

Froggie: Condolences for your digitalis. Do be aware that skeptics are a valued resource for scientific progress. And a skeptic is not someone that agrees with the theory and dickers over spelling. Remember that Darwin looked out the window at clouds resembling finches.

Adam Nardoli said...

About YEC, as Henry Morris said - Christians must "either ... believe God's Word all the way, or not at all."
Once you start saying stories the Bible presents as history are less-than-literal, the entire Bible comes apart like a pulled thread on a woolen top...

JD Curtis said...

I think Morris has a point Adam.

In case you have ever examined the issue, what is the Hebrew word for "day" as it appears in the Creation account as found in Genesis 1:3-31?

Froggie said...

A.N.,

"Once you start saying stories the Bible presents as history are less-than-literal, the entire Bible comes apart like a pulled thread on a woolen top..."

And lo and behold! It does!

Adam Nardoli said...

I have two interlinears and three Hebrew dictionaries so I can look it up.
"Ium" (Strong says "Yowm" which is the same)

day (as opposed to night), day (24 hour period) as defined by evening and morning in Genesis 1, a working day, a day's journey; lifetime (if plural)


Gesenius's Lexicon says "Day. The primary signification appears to me to be that of the -heat- of the day for the roots are heat.

But it doesn't really matter for the Bible states who begat whom and their ages all the way back to Adam so even if Ium meant some other period of time, humans would still be young according to the Bible.

JD Curtis said...

"a literal translation of the Hebrew word, yom, which can mean a twelve hour period of time, a twenty-four hour period of time, or a long, indefinite period of time" Link

I believe that the evidence points toward the third "long, indefinite period of time" definition in the Genesis account and if that is accepted, then there really isnt anything contradictory in the Biblical, Creation model.

I have discussed this with people who are familiar with Hebrew and they describe it as a language more well suited for poetic prose than for scientific terminology, (Like Greek for example). Thus the translation may be difficult if the lexicon is limited.

Adam Nardoli said...

then there really isnt anything contradictory in the Biblical, Creation model.

The order of things appearing is wrong.

Adam Nardoli said...

and the first man still didn't appear 6000 years ago.

JD Curtis said...

The order of things appearing is wrong

For instance?

the first man still didn't appear 6000 years ago

Chapter? Verse?

Adam Nardoli said...

the first man still didn't appear 6000 years ago...

Well, Jesus was said to have been born about 4BC, and we have been given the male lineage and the length of king's reigns so you can add them up.

Luckily Ussher already has for you. Ussher's method.


And order...

JD Curtis said...

So I guess the answer is no. You cannot provide a single verse of Scripture that states what the age of the Earth is or you would have done so by now.

One could reasonably state that arguments are put forward by certain folks that utilize the genealogical records that you mention, however those arguments can be weighed on their own merits and even if they turned out to be true, it still does not settle the fundamental question concerning the age of the earth.

I'm frankly suprised that the obligatory link-dump reference to talkorigins.com took you this long.

2 can play that game of course but it would accomplish little.

If there is one specific question that you find interesting, simply post it and we can take a look at it.

Adam Nardoli said...

Ok, I'll start your homework for you. :-)

Genesis 5
Adam to the Noah. The ages they produced children and the ages they died is given.

Now look up the next genealogies.

All you need to do is add up the numbers.

It's about 4000 so Adam was created 4000 years before Jesus.

Like I said Ussher already has done the math for you.

even if they turned out to be true, it still does not settle the fundamental question concerning the age of the earth.

I don't think the Bibles genealogies are true but it does answer the question of how long ago the Bible says mankind was created.

Adam Nardoli said...

http://www.complete-bible-genealogy.com/genealogy_of_jesus.htm

If you get stuck looking for verses for genealogies, Wiki is a good start!

JD Curtis said...

So if I understand you correctly you have a problem with the supposed (approx) 6,000 year timeline for human existance?

Heck, some Christians have a problem with that as well.

I checked out the geneologies link and it settles nothing.

Methusaleh alone is said to have lived for 969 years which accounts for nearly 1/6th of the earth's history of the timeline that you mention. And we do not have the lifespans of all of those on the list. The rest is merely averages and guesswork. If you would like to argue as such I would suggest you look elsewhere.

My question to you was more along the lines of asking you if you had a specific question in regards to the steps in the Creation account.

I wouldnt argue for a 6,000 year history of humankind. It might be theoretically possible but it's really not that big a deal to me.

Adam Nardoli said...

The rest is merely averages and guesswork.

Well, no. We match the ages and births, and therefore dates up with the dates of the kings. There's no need for guesswork, all you need is history, the Bible and math.

Adam Nardoli said...

Methusaleh alone is said to have lived for 969 years which accounts for nearly 1/6th of the earth's history of the timeline that you mention.

Yes. That's what the Bible says but the more important information is the age he was when he started the next generation.

And we do not have the lifespans of all of those on the list.

The more important information is the person's age when they sired the next generation.

This conversation started because some people take the Bible literally and as history. They argue that if you don't support this idea, a skeptic can simply argue away ANY part of the Bible as untrue.

JD Curtis said...

If you wish to prove to me that the human race is in existance for about 6,000 years, go ahead.

It's nothing that I would like to argue personally though.

There are MUCH more interesting topics out there IMO. Teleological arguments are just one example of this.

Adam Nardoli said...

If you wish to prove to me that the human race is in existance for about 6,000 years, go ahead.

If you take the Bible has history, then the human race is 6000 years old. But of course the evidence is overwhelming that that is not true.

There are MUCH more interesting topics out there IMO. Teleological arguments are just one example of this.

1) X is too complex to have occurred randomly or naturally.
2) Therefore, X must have been created by an intelligent being, Y.
3) God is that intelligent being.
4) Therefore, God exists.

All point 1 means is X is not yet understood.
Point 2 is incorrect since some complex things have shown to arise without intelligent beings.

Adam Nardoli said...

"If you take the Bible has history" should read "If you take the Bible as history"

JD Curtis said...

If you take the Bible has history, then the human race is 6000 years old. But of course the evidence is overwhelming that that is not true

Overwheming or whatever. There is evidence to the contrary and I do not try to argue as such.

I think it's possible that the timelines of some people might be a bit skewed and I welcome your explanation of the linked site in my entry from 3:10.

All point 1 means is X is not yet understood

Example one would indicated something might have the appearance of design but it's highly likely that a designer was not involved.

Example two would be a different matter all together.

Point 2 is incorrect since some complex things have shown to arise without intelligent beings

I would need an example to know what you are talking about here.

ATVLC said...

Unverifiable story from a young boy that supposedly happened in the 40's = truth

Now, do we have the coal with bell-shaped impressions to validate this claim? No, we don't.

Even if we did, bell shaped impressions in coal are not direct observation of the bell in the coal. The tests showed there were not even traces of coal on the bell.

All we have right now is 'some guy says the bell was encased in coal'.

Adam Nardoli said...

I would need an example to know what you are talking about here.

There are many examples in many fields - a pan of water with heat applied uniformly to it will develop convection currents that are more complex than the still water - Mandelbrot set in mathematics, etc... Complexity arising from simplicity.

...would be a different matter all together.

That's a different argument than the one you put forward before. Your second last comment was about things being complex therefore designed, your last comment is about the "appearance of design".

You are going to need some sort of scientific test to discover design. Let me guess - complexity! Well, of course that doesn't work. Or are you just going to "know it when you see it"?

Remember - historically, supernatural design has been attributed to lots of things that we now know form naturally, such as lightning and rainbows.

JD Curtis said...

That's a different argument than the one you put forward before. Your second last comment was about things being complex therefore designed, your last comment is about the "appearance of design"

I meant that these sorts things could be evaluated on a case by case basis. To make broad sweeping, dismissive claims is not advisable to any argument unless solid refuting evidence is actually available


Remember - historically, supernatural design has been attributed to lots of things that we now know form naturally, such as lightning and rainbows

By primitive people who had neither the understanding that we now have nor access to the same technology.

The tests showed there were not even traces of coal on the bell

I missed that part. Are you citing another source or the one up above?

Adam Nardoli said...

By primitive people who had neither the understanding that we now have nor access to the same technology.

Exactly. And time will march on and one day WE will be the primitive people who know less and with the less advanced technology.

I missed that part. Are you citing another source or the one up above?

I thought it was your source but it isn't. I've closed the tab. It doesn't matter, the pressure and time that is needed to turn trees into coal is so large that it wouldn't leave a bell intact anyway.

To make broad sweeping, dismissive claims is not advisable to any argument unless solid refuting evidence is actually available.

If the argument rests on false premises then why not be dismissive?

ATVLC said...

To make broad sweeping, dismissive claims is not advisable to any argument unless solid refuting evidence is actually available.

Believing everything as long as you haven't seen refuting evidence is a bad idea.

zilch said...

Back to this footprint: where is it now? Has anyone seen it? Otherwise it's just someone's photoshopped fake.

JD Curtis said...

Click on the above link