FW: Creationists' age for the earth

David Beorn dbeorn at freenet.vcu.edu
Thu Sep 19 05:48:31 EST 1996

On 10 Sep 1996, Moody, Scott wrote:

> From: Moody, Scott <Moody at SMTP-MAIL.OUCOM.OHIOU.EDU>
> Newgroups: bionet.molbio.evolution
>      What a rotten choice:  Teach a false and corrupt view of science 

Your opinion, not fact.

> (creationism) to put bread on the table, or fall on your sword by teaching 
> the real story (evolution, ancient earth and universe, etc.).  I do not 

another opinion.

> think there is any hope of changing the views of the people within this 

If presented with valid evidence, I'm sure they would change their view - 
just as Christians have accepted other VALID areas of science - evolution 
doesn't qualify because of false initial assumptions (or at least 
unprovable ones - as all are).  

> school.  Both the commitment the group has to a literal interpretation of 
> every word of the Bible and group dynamics are against it (if one person 
> started to reexamine their views, they would be slapped back in line by the 
> group).  I also do not think any views departing from the narrow dogma of 
> the school will be tolerated.  Deviations will probably be seen as grounds 

I would hope that they would at least be open to hearing what the "other 
side" is saying about it - as long as it was not taught as fact (which it 
is not).

> for dismissal, and often teachers in such schools are forced to sign papers 
> affirming their belief in the Bible as the absolute authority in all 

Yes, we do believe it is the absolute authority, when it has something to 
say about a matter - but when it doesn't speak on a subject, that's 
another matter.  

> matters.  The best thing to do is to start hunting for another job (no small 
> task) and get out of there.
>      Setting the age of the earth at 6,000 to 12,000 years is derived by 
> counting the generations back to Adam, as the generations are recorded in 
> the Bible.  Therefore any scientific method of dating is discounted if it 
> does not agree with the Biblical estimate.  Since all of the scientific 

I don't know about this - if valid evidence was presented for it, or at 
least reasonable evidence, it would be considered by many.  

> methods agree on an age for the earth of about 4.5 billion years, all 

I'm not even sure this is true - I've heard a wide range of ages - from 
2-5 billion years by evolutionists.  Maybe it's still in the same range 
but it is a factor of 2.

> scientific methods for determining age are discounted.  In essence, science 
> is discounted as irrelevant in answering a scientific question.  It is 

Not irrelevant - inconclusive or maybe just "arrogant" - we don't know 
how good the assumptions made for the calculations are so how do we know 
the estimates are any good??  Change the assumptions and you get widely 
different answers.  But since you ASSUME evolution occurred, you must 
take the assumptions that make the age very old.  Hardly scientific.  

> difficult to see why they teach science at all, or whether teaching science 
> in such a setting has an meaning at all.

Science was actually taken very seriously by Christians in the past, that 
by investigating the creation we could learn more about the wonders of 
God.  Galileo was a Christian who challenged the views of the church and 
ultimately won (although I believe posthumously) - I don't defend those 
who treated him so unfairly.  He was right and proved it but was not 
accepted because he went against the view of the day which many THOUGHT 
was Biblical but was not.  

>      Leonard said, "BTW, this *teacher* does seem to accept Galileo and 
> doesn't appear to believe in crystalline spheres, a geocentric universe, or 
> a flat earth, so I suppose there is hope after all."  What this statement 
> does is identify which branch of the so called "Bible Science" movement this 
> teacher belong to.  The "liberal branch" believes in the literal 7 day 
> creation, and the story of Adam and Eve as set out in the Bible.  The 

You've got this part entirely wrong.  The "liberal" branch believes in 
evolution - either as caused by God or that God created and just "let it 
go" and it evolved.  They just ignore the first chapter of Genesis or 
believe it to be figurative.  I used to believe this to but not any more, 
after studying the evidence.  

> "moderate branch" not only believes this, but also that the earth is the 
> center of the universe, as described in the 7 day creation story and 
> elsewhere (Joshua stopped the sun in the sky, not the spinning of the earth 

I don't think there is really any significant "branch" of Christianity 
that still believes this.  A small fringe group, maybe, but I have never 
heard this view espoused nor read of it and most of Christianity (even 
the liberals above) would probably think they are kooks.  And the Joshua 
story was descriptive of what it LOOKED like and their understanding of 
it then - not, I believe, intended to be a physical description (just as 
you would still say "the sunset" - even though it is the Earth moving, 
not the sun "setting").  And I don't know of anything in the creation 
story that describes the earth as "the center" of the universe - I 
suppose it could be interpreted that way but it WAS the center of God's 
attention and efforts (I could quote the story here but then people would 
REALLY go off!! <G>).  

> ...).  The "conservative branch" of the "Bible science" movement believes 
> all this, AND that the earth is flat, as described in the 7 day creation 
> story an as alluded to in Daniel ("I will raise a tree that can be seen from 
> all the earth..."  Well, how can that be literally true unless the earth is 
> flat?  And since we know it is literally true, then the earth must be flat.) 

Well, the NIV translation says "ends of the Earth" which would seem to 
mean to the horizon.  But the "conservative" branch doesn't believe 
anything of the sort - this is an even worse set of kooks than mentioned 
above because they have closed their eyes to the obvious, provable facts, 
which any good Christian should not do - the Bible says "You shall know 
the truth, and the truth shall set you free" (John 8:32) and this would 
include sources outside the Bible, as well as the Bible, as far as I can 

Conservative Christians would most likely believe in 7 day creation but 
not these other things.  You must have a very warped sense of what 
Christians think - no wonder many in the "scientific community" label us 
ALL as kooks.  You probably think I'm one for labeling the other kooks as 
per above.  Oh, well...

>      The Flat Earth Society is not a joke, but is actually alive and well 
> and living in Lancaster, California.  It is made up of conservative 
> Christians who believe the earth is flat because that is what it says in the 
> Bible.  The Flat Earthers think believing anything else shows one is not a 
> true believer in the Bible and subject to damnation!  In the end, there is 

This all may be true but these people have deluded themselves, 
obviously.  They don't represent even a tenth of a percent of 
Christianity today.  

> probably little to no hope this teacher will open his mind in the least to 
> the science of evolution, or anything else that disagrees with his 
> creationist views.  The danger and mistake we biologist often make is not 
> that we try to educate the committed creationist such as him.  That is 
> probably a lost cause.  The mistake is that we often fail to educate the 

I think you mean indoctrinate - to truly educate would be to present what
is factual as fact and what is speculation as speculation.  And maybe even
present both views - imagine that!!!  If your view is really correct, why
are you so threatened by HEARING the other view.  In public school, I
wouldn't even suggest teaching it as fact (either theory) or from a
religious viewpoint - just as the 2 possibilities as we know them. 
Neither can be proven.  I could live with that - and let the chips fall
where they may.  I would hope that parents would teach their kids what
they believe about it, but far too many are intimidated by "science" and
think they can't or don't understand it so they don't try and they also
think the teacher is "the expert" when often that is not the case. 

> people in the vast middle ground of America, who are open to different 
> ideas, and who, because they are open to other ideas, are all to often 
> convinced by the efforts of creationist while we scientists sit idly by.

I wish that were true - I think far too many people are getting only the 
evolutionistic viewpoint and never considering the other because it's not 
"science" - it's "religion" when in fact nothing could be further from 
the truth.  

>      I wish Leonard and his wife, Dr. ???? good luck in their decisions and 
> future.  She has landed in a difficult dilemma:  Paycheck or science 
> integrity?

Nope - she can have both.  But she has to be intellectually honest.  


> Steve Edinger
> EdingerS at Mail.OUCOM.OhioU.EDU

        *        David Beorn, david.beorn at pobox.com (internet)        *
        *        Virginia FREENET                                     *


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