Post Author: Bill Pratt
Young earth creation organizations have written many books and published numerous articles over the years presenting scientific evidence to prove that the earth is young (6,000 – 10,000 years old). Several years ago, when I read these books and articles, I found many of them to be convincing.
But, I wanted to hear both sides so I started reading opposing viewpoints from scientists who believe the earth is older (4.5 billion years old). Inevitably, these other organizations who believed in an old earth countered and refuted virtually all of the young earth arguments. Now, this wasn’t surprising, and you could always go back to the young earth side to find refutations of refutations, and so on.
Although I have a degree in electrical engineering, I am not an expert in radiometric dating, geology, astronomy, astrophysics, or any earth sciences. But what I found is that the virtual unanimous consensus of all branches of science that study the age of the earth and universe agreed that the earth is old. This included Christians and non-Christians.
I realize that truth is not determined by a vote, but to have so many different disciplines agree on the age of the earth is something to think about. But I still figured that maybe they were all wrong, until I heard something that surprised me.
If the scientific arguments of young earth creationists were truly persuasive, then they should have convinced at least some scientists, apart from the Bible, of their viewpoint. After all, scientists will eventually listen to presentations of strong evidence. But according to young earth creationists, no scientist, as far as they know, has ever been convinced of a young earth by scientific evidence alone.
According to Dr. John Ankerberg, who was a young earth creationist earlier in life:
When I was arguing for the young earth view in the early years of our television ministry, I remember when my friend Dr. John Morris, the President of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) and one of the world’s largest young earth organizations, was being interviewed on KKLA radio in Los Angeles. He was asked, “Had he or any of his associates ever met or heard of a scientist who became persuaded that the universe or earth is only thousands of years old, based on scientific evidence without a reference to a particular interpretation of the Bible?” Morris’ answer was no, he had not.
Later, Duane Gish, also of ICR, was asked the same question. I was interested in his answer as I had invited Dr. Gish to be my guest in the very first debate I held on science and the Bible. I had arranged for him to debate Dr. Vincent Sarich, who was the Chairman of the Department of Anthropology at Berkeley and an evolutionist. When Dr. Gish was asked if he knew of any scientist who had ever been persuaded by the scientific evidence that the universe or the earth was 6,000 years old, he also said no.
My conclusion from these statements is that the scientific evidence for a young earth is significantly weaker than that for an old earth and that the refutations of the young earth evidence by old earthers is probably more trustworthy.
It seems that unless you start with a 24-hour interpretation of the “days” in Genesis, an interpretation that is highly disputed among conservative evangelicals and other conservative Christians, you will not arrive at the young earth position by studying science alone.
The science just does not back up the young earth position, and until young earthers are able to convince scientists based on scientific arguments alone, their position will remain less convincing to me.