Thursday, October 28, 2010

Get the Facts on YECS

This paper was copyrighted in 1999/2000 by Matthew S. Tiscareno. It is fascinating reading, especially if you have ever sat in on a Hovind or Ham seminar.

It should go without saying that any scientific claims you hear in a non-academic setting should be fully evaluated later with expert sources. Don't take everything you hear in church as, er, "gospel" truth. That would include scientific claims made in *religious settings like home school seminars of a religious nature.

I admit to being too lazy and unconcerned to so evaluate the claims of Young Earth Creation Science when I attended my first such meeting. Given my experiences in college at OSU in 1986, the paranoia about atheists professors aiming to convert college students to atheism seemed plausible to me. Since I had experienced this assumption as truth, I stopped thinking critically about the rest of their claims. Big mistake.

I never bothered to do any fact checking, mostly because I wasn't fully convinced but also because I was not very concerned with the subject anyway. My faith in Jesus Christ does not rest on whether or not the world was created in a literal six day period a mere six thousand to ten thousand years ago. I had nothing to lose or gain based on the claims of YECS.

My faith in Christ rests on the gospel, nicely summed up in the Apostle's Creed, coupled with my own personal experience of the presence of God in my life. A friend of mince converted to atheism, and she started to show me all the places she believed the Bible contradicted itself. I told her that if the whole Bible were proved false (which I don't believe is possible, but IF one were an inerrant literalist as she was previously, I can see why finding out some things weren't literal would seem to "disprove" the Bible to her) then on the basis of my personal experience I would still follow Jesus. It's very simple: I called on the name of Jesus and he answered me.

Long story short, in an attempt to be fair and open-minded I did not shelter my children from YECS teaching. I thought that my own caveats ("almost all scientists believe the universe including the earth, is very old") thrown in with the Christian textbook science was providing proper balance. Much later I found out that this was not so, and even worse, the negative attitude toward those who believed in evolution was the only part of YECS that really stuck with my (language inclined) oldest student. :\

In an effort to educate myself on the more scientific side of the issue, I came across the above link. I hope everyone who has exposed their students to YECS will also expose their students to the above scientific rebuttals so their students don't go off to college making spurious claims about "proof" for a young earth. Your students deserve to know what facts they will really be up against if they challenge a professor in class about the age of the earth. It's unkind to provide them with any less.

Other Christian sources that can help your students in this way are Reasons to Believe and Biologos. Thanks to the ladies at the blogThe Wartburg Watch for the excellence resources.

Peace and good will, SS

*Actually, you should apply skepticism to pretty much all the anecdotal stories you hear in a religious setting as well. Many of them are great illustrations, though they have been fabricated and passed on as a sermon illustration in a book, on a website, etc. I have no problem with that, and the more honest among us usually cite their source, as in "I have no idea if this is true, but someone sent me this story the other day in an e-mail and it perfectly illustrates my point this morning. Seems there was this guy...."


  1. We are going through that exact thing right now with my son's school. It's not just that they teach 6,000, 6 literal days... it's that they teach the kids to shut their minds and ears to anything else. He turned off his favorite TV show yesterday because they were "full of lies" because they talked about dinosaurs being here 150 million years ago, before people. This, from an otherwise fairly rational, truly non-denominational Christian school.

    Why? Why does it have to be so all or nothing? Why must they teach it to kids that way? It has NOTHING to do with their salvation or living a life of Christ's love, and IS actually one of the bigger threats to disrail it in the future. Kids who are forced to have faith in fairytale "science" and legalistic doctrine tend to tie their faith in God into the same package, and are more likely to lose it all if one of them unravels.

    I have to admit, we were ignorant of the militant dogma associated with the YECS stance. The school's academic curriculum is secular, so we figured when they learned creation in Bible class, what the heck, it's better than the public schools, where he'd be getting "Science will prove there is no God." Turns out now we have to fight the equivalent of "God will prove there is no science." Stupid.

  2. I wish they'd go back to the oldest book in the Bible to take their stand on how the world was created: Job!

    Job 38:4 "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand.

    5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it?

    6 On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone-

    7 while the morning stars sang together and all the angels [a] shouted for joy?