A Creationist's "Evidence" for a Young Earth
Young Earth creationism (YEC) is arguably the dominant strand of creationist thought today. In YEC dogma the earth is less than ten thousand years old. In June 2002, a YEC with the nom de plume of KJVcandlestick announced on the No Answers in Genesis Message Board that he/she had a long list of evidentiary statements in support of a young Earth.
Evolutionary science, along with the rest of science, regards the earth to be about four and a half billion years old. Evolutionists were challenged by KJVcandlestick to e-mail him/her for the list, if we dared. Why this somewhat low key method of publicity was chosen for such an apparently powerful assemblage of arguments was not stated. Perhaps the list was so long that it would not be accepted on the message board as a single posting.
In the spirit of open inquiry, an e-mail was duly dispatched. A day later this response dropped into the Inbox.
Sent: Tuesday, 25 June 2002 6:02 PM
To: KJVcandlestick@aol.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Re: Scientific Evidence for a Young Earth
During the Alaskan Earthquake of 1964 (Richter 9.2), the land level south of Anchorage rose as much as 38 feet in just five minutes. A quake of that intensity could build an Everest-sized mountain in less than a week, if it continued.
A similar incident occurred in Chile in 1960 (Richter 9.5). That quake was so violent that the land rose 1,000 feet in some places, and five volcanoes exploded simultaneously.
These two events, thoroughly documented by George Plafker, USGS, prove that mountain-building has occurred over a period of hundreds of years, not millions.
Are YOU a GOOD person?
* Can YOU create the Universe? NO!
"Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens" (Jeremiah 10:11).
THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, the Son of God, created the Universe!
"Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created" (Revelation 4:11).
* Can YOU create the perfect and just Law? NO!
"Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law?" (Psalm 94:20).
THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, the Son of God, created the perfect and just Law!
"The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple" (Psalm 19:7).
* Can YOU keep the Law perfectly? NO!
"For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all" (James 2:10).
THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, the Son of God, kept the Law perfectly!
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil" (Matthew 5:17).
* Can YOU raise yourself from the dead? NO!
"There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it" (Ecclesiastes 8:8).
THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, the Son of God, raised Himself from the dead!
"I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death" (Revelation 1:18).
* Can YOU pay for a lost, Hell-bound soul? NO!
"They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; none of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him" (Psalm 49:6-7).
THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, the Son of God, can pay for a lost, Hell-bound soul!
"And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation" (Revelation 5:9).
* Can YOU satisfy God the Father by your good works? NO!
"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away" (Isaiah 64:6).
THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, the Son of God, satisfied the Father by His good works!
"But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified" (Hebrews 10:12-14).
If YOU do not accept the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as your Savior, YOU will suffer the curse of Hell for all eternity!
"And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (Revelation 20:15).
"THERE IS NONE GOOD BUT ONE, THAT IS, GOD" (Mark 10:18).
You MUST accept the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as your Savior.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
KJVcandlestick's "evidence" for a young earth falls into two types. Type (i) consists of a couple of alleged observations of earthquakes and supposedly related activity. Type (ii) is a much larger and very loose set of Biblical quotes, beliefs and morality statements.
For those not familiar with the peculiar workings of YEC geology, a few explanatory words are probably needed. YECs have constructed an oxymoronic edifice known as "creation science" which attempts to use empirical observations and data to demonstrate that Genesis is literally true. If the earth is young and a YEC reading of Genesis says it is, then all manner of geological phenomena must be compressed into a few thousand years.
The Noachian Flood, a mythical event found in some writings predating the Bible (but not in many others), is the primary agent YECs have chosen to explain the geology of the Earth's crust. The flood is seen as a super-violent global event, an expression of God's righteous wrath. Mountain systems such as the Himalayas and the Andes are regarded as having been built during this alleged cataclysm. It is a common YEC ploy to seize on any evidence of violent activity on the part of the Earth as bolstering the case for a young Earth. The connections are generally remarkable for their simplicity and silliness.
KJVcandlestick claimed that during the 1964 Alaskan earthquake, "the land level south of Anchorage rose as much as 38 feet in just five minutes. A quake of that intensity could build an Everest-sized mountain in less than a week, if it continued."
It didn't continue of course. This is why KJVcandlestick's extrapolation breaks down. Earthquakes are short lived events. They are the product of stresses and strains building for a hundred or hundred and fifty years or so. The vibrations last a few minutes at most. A major earthquake in the same region is then improbable (but not impossible) for a century or more. (It should be added that great earthquakes are rather more common in Alaska than this.)
When the next earthquake occurs, as it inevitably will, will it mean that the Earth is young? Hardly. Sooner or later there will be a large volcanic eruption somewhere. Perhaps there will be several. Does that mean that the Earth is young? Again no. Why should it? KJVcandlestick's linkage of the 1964 Alaskan earthquake, the 1960 Chilean earthquake or any earthquake with a young Earth is without foundation. It is based on nothing more substantial than hope. Worse, it ignores a vast amount of evidence gathered over the last hundred years or so about the way in which the Earth's crust behaves.
The theory of plate tectonics has dealt a crushing blow to YEC belief. When viewed from a plate tectonic perspective, KJVcandlestick's evidence for a young Earth is more than a little silly.
KJVcandlestick's statements are irrelevant to the scientific method or a scientific debate. They serve only as a window into the thought processes of a person who considers them evidence for a young Earth.
What is the connection between the text of the Bible and, say, the copper grades of an ore sample sent for analysis in a laboratory? It is difficult to discern. Let us suppose that an analytical chemist has produced an assay result which is highly anomalous and needs checking. The chemist has been asked by the laboratory management to explain, defend and justify his or her choice of experimental technique for a certain chemical assay. If KJVcandlestick's grab bag of scriptural quotes was produced as a response it would be regarded with stunned incredulity. If such an approach persisted, the chemist would deserve dismissal on the grounds of demonstrated incompetence.
Why should the work of geochemists, geophysicists, geologists, biologists and other scientists be any different? Their work is removed and disconnected from the moralising of Scripture.