From: "The World Peace Prophecies: The Unification of Science,
Religion, and Humanity," donated by its author, Monte Benson
Part 1: The Earth’s Age and the Science of Genesis 1:
Science supports an old Earth and Universe.
Mainstream Science and the Bible Actually Agree:
To unite science and spirituality, biblical history must be examined in great detail—although it might seem like an unlikely place to search for such evidence. Consider some of the main stories used to reject the Bible:
- The creation of the universe in six 24-hour days,
- Adam and Eve being the first humans,
- The flood,
- The confusion of tongues at the Tower of Babel,
- The Exodus, and
- Joshua’s long day (Genesis 1, 2, 7, 11; Exodus 8-11, 14; Joshua 10:12-14).
Are not these stories simply superstitious myths? Well, actually they are not, once they are properly understood. The Bible does not teach what many Christians think it does. It is wrong traditions and incorrect translations that make these stories appear to be unscientific. The truth is that, in general, the Bible is supported quite well by science, archaeology, and history. And although many attacks have been made against the Bible, there is plenty of evidence to answer them with. 1
Why should I believe your interpretation of Genesis 1?
To start with, the interpretations in the next few chapters do not require the use of pseudo-science, and, more importantly, they resolve the major differences between science and scripture. In the past, these differences helped to cause strife and distrust in the world, so to begin to resolve them, this chapter harmonizes mainstream science with Genesis 1 in ways that even most Christians are unaware of. However, before I can do so, I must explain in detail why young-earth creationism is false, and the way I will do so is by presenting enough evidence to prove that the earth is about 4.6 billion years old. The reason I devote almost an entire chapter to this subject is because at least 30 percent 2 (some sources indicate about 45 to 47 percent) 3 of Americans still believe in young-earth creationism.
At the end of this section, the linguistic issues regarding the meaning of “day” (yowm in Hebrew) in Genesis 1, as in “on the first day,” will be addressed. This will show that the six days of creation may be seen, on linguistic grounds, as six periods of time, or eras. The arguments in this chapter will help to unite Christians, and they will also help to bring scientists to a belief in the Bible. But not only that, the information in this chapter will help to create more peace, and it will also help to bring more people to an awareness that we live in a spiritual universe. However, if you already know that the earth is about 4.6 billion years old, feel free to skip ahead to the final two sections of this chapter.
How can I possibly know that the earth and the universe are billions of years old? Well, the science is actually quite conclusive. Those who want to can find this out by simply comparing old-earth vs. young-earth creationist arguments. When these two conflicting views are compared and analyzed in a thorough manner, it becomes clear that only the old-earth arguments fit the facts. 4
Do young-earth proponents use scientific principles?
One reason young-earth arguments should not be trusted is because their proponents place their interpretation of the Bible above all other evidence. This causes them to force the truth, even to the breaking point, to uphold God’s word as they understand it. But this is not science. True science must test its claims again and again as necessary. Consequently, when a theory passes one test after another, it becomes more and more trusted. Believers in the young-earth interpretation of the Bible, on the other hand, refuse to drop any of their ideas even if the clearest science demands it; they think they know what God meant in the Bible and that is all the evidence they need. Little do they know that the Bible is in perfect harmony with the very science they fight.
Now, some Christians are uncomfortable because a number of atheistic scientists are in high positions in the scientific realm, which for many of these Christians casts doubt on orthodox science in general. They need to understand though that not all orthodox scientists are atheists. There are many scientists who believe in God and a 13.7 billion year old universe. It is also significant that even the best scientists admit that you cannot prove that God does not exist. However, Hugh Ross and a few other scientists have discovered how to scientifically test whether or not He exists, since only testable theories can become reliable. 5 The exciting news is that, eventually, these tests and others will withstand widespread scientific scrutiny.
So, what exactly do young-earth creationists believe? Well, one of the two main pillars of their argument is the idea that the geologic column (with its fossil record) was laid down in about one year, while the other pillar is the claim that the radiometric dating methods used to prove that the earth is 4.6 billion years old are unreliable. Thus they believe that the millions of sedimentary layers in the geologic column are not indications of yearly layers, but instead, were laid down in less than one year’s time during Noah’s flood. But, as you will see, both of these claims are false. 6
Has the speed of light decayed?
To disprove that the universe is billions of years old, young-earth Christians claim that the speed of light may have slowed down dramatically since creation. Thus we can see galaxies that are millions or even billions of light years away and still have a universe that is only about 6,000 to 12,000 years old. (A light year is how far light travels in one year.) One way to test this young-earth theory is to study pulsars, which can be used as extremely accurate clocks. By studying their light, scientists have determined that there is no time dilation effect upon the light they emit. (There would be if the speed of light had decayed.) We also know the speed of light has not decreased much because if it had galaxies would be rotating much faster than they appear to be—so fast, in fact, that at such speeds they would rip apart. Since this has not occurred, the decay of light theory is clearly false. Thus, if the speed of light had changed as much as some creationists contend, it would be easy to detect.
One way scientists have proven that there are astronomical objects far beyond 12,000 light years away is through trigonometry. Based on this method, supernova remnant SN1987A, first visible in 1987, is about 170,000 light years away. This is calculated without relying upon “standard candles,” which are objects of known brightness. This supernova thus occurred about 170,000 years ago since the speed of light has always been about the same. Thus the universe must be much, much older than this supernova remnant. 7
This is just one of many methods available to determine astronomical distances in order to prove that the universe is not 6,000 to 12,000 years old, but is instead many billions of years old. 8 Even considering the range of error (most are off by no more than about 15 percent with just a few off by up to 50 percent), the techniques for measuring interstellar distances still give results that rule out young-earth distance arguments. 9 For further information, I recommend Bjorn Feuerbacher’s excellent article found on TalkOrigins concerning the measurement of interstellar distances far beyond 12,000 light years (even beyond millions of light years). His article also answers creationist objections (see footnote). 10
Radiometric Decay Rates:
By studying gamma rays emitted by supernova remnants, scientists have proven that radioactive decay rates were the same in the past as they are now. For example, as just mentioned, the remnant of Supernova SN1987A is about 170,000 light years away, so light takes about 170,000 years to travel from it to the earth. By studying the light emitted by it, scientists have determined that decay rates were the same 170,000 years ago (when that light was emitted) as they are now. In fact, Supernova SN1991T occurred about 60 million light years away, and when its gamma rays were studied they indicated that decay rates were the same 60 million years ago as they are now. Light has even been studied from supernovas billions of light years away, and in each case, it indicates that the radiometric decay rates billions of years ago were the same as they are now.
Scientists have also tried to change decay rates, but, except for a small change of less than 0.2 percent, which would have no significant effect upon dates, they have been unable to do so. Not only that, calculations indicate that changes to the fundamental radiometric dating constants would affect different dating techniques in a manner that would give incompatible dates using different radioisotopes. Since this is not found, it is clear that radioactive decay rates have always been the same, or at least about the same. 11
Yet there are still other reasons scientists know that nature’s radiometric decay rates have always been the same, or nearly the same. For instance, the structure of stars would be noticeably affected. Since stars within 25,000 light years from earth still have the structure expected, we know that radiocarbon dating is reliable for dating things that are less than 25,000 years old. In fact, based on the change in decay rates proposed by young-earth creationists (an error of 4.6 billion years using present decay rates), the entire earth would have been molten at the time of Adam and Eve, and it would have remained so to this day! 12 Thus geological dating techniques such as uranium 238, uranium-235, and potassium 40 can accurately establish dates for rocks and strata on the order of millions or even billions of years. 13,14
It is thus clear that radiometric dating methods are accurate, including carbon-14 dating, which is reliable for dating things less than 25,000 years old. 15 Although carbon-14 dating does not have the built in check for contamination that other dating methods have, its accuracy is evident because the resulting dates are in good agreement with each other and with other ways of determining how old a sample is, such as dendrochronology, 16 varve 17 counts, various other archaeological dating techniques, and so on. 18 If contamination were a big problem, random discordant dates would prevail. And finally, it must be asked, why would God create radioisotopes in such a way that they could not be used to date archaeological and geological finds?
This topic continues in Part 2
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- John Argubright, Bible Believer’s Archaeology: Historical Evidence that Proves the Bible, vol. 1 (Longwood: Xulon Press, 2002) and vol. 2 (Longwood: Xulon Press, 2003)
- Eugenie C. Scott and Glenn Branch, “Antievolutionism: Changes and Continuities,” BioScience, vol. 53, issue 3, March 2003, pp. 282-285.
- Michael Ruse, The Evolution-Creation Struggle: Ignorant Armies Clash by Night (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005), 249.
- Mark Isaak, The Counter-Creationism Handbook (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2007)
- Ross, Creation as Science, 1-284
- Glenn R. Morton, “Young-Earth Arguments: A Second Look,” God And Science.org, (1998), Retrieved from: http://home.entouch.net/ 29 October 2007
- Dave Matson, “How Good Are Those Young-Earth Arguments?” See: A6. The Distance to Supernova SN1987A and the Speed of Light, The TalkOrigins Archive, (1994), Retrieved from: http://www.talkorigins.org/, and “Rejoinder to Cliff Hanlon’s ‘Three R’s,’” Dave Matson’s response to criticism of his article on C-decay, August 3, 1998, (1995-2007), at: http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/dave_matson/hanlon.html 19 November 2004
- Stephen Webb, Measuring the Universe: The Cosmological Distance Ladder (Cornwall: Springer-Praxis, 1999)
- Hugh Ross, Ph.D., Creation and Time (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1994), 96.
- Bjorn Feuerbacher, “Determining Distances to Astronomical Objects,” The TalkOrigins Archive, (2003), Retrieved from: http://www.talkorigins.org/ 19 November 2004
- Mark Isaak (Editor), “Claim CF210,” The TalkOrigins Archive, (2004), Retrieved from: http://www.talkorigins.org/ 24 January 2005
- Jim Meritt, “The General Anti-Creationism FAQ,” The TalkOrigins Archive, Retrieved from: http://www.talkorigins.org/ 24 July 2004
- Tim M. Berra, Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: A Basic Guide to the Facts in the Evolution Debate (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1990), 37.
- Isaak, The Counter-Creationism Handbook, 143-146, 151-157
- Hugh Ross, Ph.D., “The Usefulness of Carbon 14,” Reasons to Believe, (1988-2007), Retrieved from: http://www.reasons.org/ 24 July 2004
- Dendrochronology involves the study of tree rings (a.k.a. growth rings) to determine the age of a tree and to infer climate changes during the life of a tree.
- A varve is a pair of thin layers of clay, silt, or sedimentary rock of contrasting color and texture that had its origin in the deposit over a single year (summer and winter).
- Daniel E. Wonderly, “IBRI Research Report (1996): Genesis 11 and Archaeological Evidence for Paleolithic Man,” Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute, Retrieved from: http://www.ibri.org/ 25 July 2004
Originally posted: 2012-OCT-13
Author: Monte Benson
Source: "The World Peace Prophecies: The Unification of Science, Religion, and Humanity," Chapter 4, at: http://www.angelfire.com/