Indicators of a "young earth:"
The quality of proofs of a young earth
We refrain from criticizing the theological beliefs of all religions; we
merely explain them. This includes such topics as the nature of supernatural
beings, salvation, sin, heaven, hell, etc. However, when members of a faith group leave the field of
religion and offer alternative explanations for matters related to archaeology,
cosmology, geology, biology, medicine, mental health, and other social and
physical sciences, we feel that it is acceptable to compare and contrast their
beliefs with the findings of scientists. In this section of our website we have
listed dozens of proofs that the earth is young, with rebuttals based on
To be fair, we also have a listing of proofs that the
earth is old, with rebuttals based on the beliefs of young-earth
There is a near consensus on the age of the earth, but not an absolute
- Over 99% of earth and biological scientists have concluded that the earth's crust formed billions of years ago.
- About 0.15% of all earth and life scientists argue for the creation of a young earth between 4000 and 8000 BCE.
The latter are almost entirely Evangelical Christians who believe in the inerrancy and inspiration of the Bible and a literal translation of the
book of Genesis.
This is an enormous difference. The ratio of the age of a 10,000 year old
earth, and a four billion year old earth is almost a half million to one. At
least one belief must be false. More details.
Quality of the proofs of a young earth:
Many dozens of "proofs" of a young earth have been put forth by
creation scientists. None that we have checked so far appears to be valid. Some
are based on misquoted or misunderstood evidence. Most ignore well understood
processes on earth or in the rest of the universe. A few overlook alternative
hypotheses which are compatible with an old earth.
These indicators of a young earth have been well circulated among scientists
-- most for decades. All have been rejected. Creation scientists Dr. Hugh Ross &
Kathy Ross of the conservative Protestant Reasons to Believe group believe in an old-earth. They have written:
creationists have gone on to assemble approximately eighty 'scientific'
evidences for a creation date of roughly 10,000 years. If you have tried these
on your science-trained colleagues, you have no doubt discovered (perhaps with
painful embarrassment) that all these 'evidences' are based on misunderstanding
and error. " 1
We have assembled dozens of proofs of a young earth that have been forwarded
via Email by visitors to this website. All are from this list of about 80
proofs that are well known to the scientific community. We have attempted to
provide a rebuttal to each of the proofs that is understandable to a person with
a high-school education. No advanced education is needed.
Common errors among young-earth proofs:
Sometimes, young-earth proofs are based upon a simple misunderstanding. The
proof based on the rate of deceleration of the earth's rotation,
is of this type. An author simply interchanged two numbers: the earth's
deceleration over a one day period, and the deceleration over a century
interval. He thus obtained a figure that was about 36,526 times too large, and
reached some invalid conclusions.
A very common young-earth error involves a different process:
- The author concentrates on a particular phenomenon. One example is the erosion of mountains that results in
sediment flowing into the oceans.
- S/he assumes that only one process is involved in the phenomenon; e.g.
erosion tearing down the mountains.
- S/he does a simple calculation that shows that over 14 million years -- a
short period of time, geologically speaking, -- the process would go to
completion. If the world coalesced over four billion years ago, the continents
of the world would now be as flat as a pancake,
- Since the mountains still exist, one can conclude that the earth is
The fallacy here is that there are generally additional processes that act to
counteract the process studied by the author. S/he overlooked the immense forces
from the earth's colliding tectonic plates, the increase in land mass due to
lava from volcanoes, and the addition of rising masses of molten rock from the
earth's mantle. The result is that many processes act in both directions: some
tear down mountains; others build them up. In the U.S. for example, Wisconsin
contains a large area of once-tall mountains that "are now worn down so low
as to constitute a rather simple plain..." 2 Here, erosion
has been the main process. The Rocky Mountains are newer and were caused by
subducting tectonic plates. This process continues to build up the Rockies
today, even as erosion is also taking place. 3
Similar errors are found in other classical young-earth proofs, based on: the
second law of thermodynamics, the shape of the earth, population growth rates,
topsoil depth, comets, the volcano on one of Jupiter's moons: Io.
A proof of the lack of credibility of a young earth -- based on greed:
Imagine for a moment that a skilled physicist had realized that one of these
"proofs" was valid, and that the earth must be less than, say, 10,000 years
of age. This would be the discovery of the century! It would be on a par with
Einstein's finding that Newton's Laws did not apply at high velocities. It would
upset the entire structure of biological evolution which has been laboriously
pieced together for centuries. There simply would not have been enough
time for species to evolve if the earth was that young. That scientist would be
a shoo-in for the next Nobel Prize, and for world-wide fame. It seems obvious
that very few scientists could resist such instant fame and economic rewards. He or she
would certainly publish an article immediately and wait for the Nobel Prize committee to
call. But, although tens or hundreds of thousands of scientists are familiar
with these "proofs," to our knowledge, no scientist has ever come forward and published any
of these proofs in
a peer-reviewed journal.
The impossibility of dialog:
Our group has an office motto: "Whenever there is a deviation from reality,
people get hurt." It is our opinion that young-earth creationists are
damaging their own cause when they teach proofs of a young earth that are
clearly unsupportable by the facts. The Internet has given the public instant
access to websites that systematically refute most or all of these proofs. Over
time, the credibility of the young-earth hypothesis will fail, unless its
supporters withdraw some of their proofs.
We decided to attempt to dialog with the webmasters
of over a dozen young-earth websites. We selected proof of a young earth
that was based on the deceleration of the earth's rotation, because it was clearly
based on a misunderstanding of the observed data. It was clearly an
open-and-shut case; a simple error. We naively felt that by pointing out the original
mistake, the webmasters would realize that the proof was worthless, and would
remove it from their website. This would improving the credibility of their
remaining proofs. We attempted to dialog with these webmasters via Email.
Although some admitted that their proof was invalid, none removed it from
We speculate that these webmasters will assume that their readers are almost
all conservative Christians who already believe in a young earth, and who only
surf young-earth creation sites for their information on origins. We feel that
this is a dangerous assumption. The Internet provides everyone with free and
simple access to all viewpoints on origins. Over time, the credibility of young
earth promoters who base their arguments on these unsupported proofs will be
We had hoped for success in this dialog, and had originally planned to
re-engage these webmasters over other, less obvious proofs. But our 100% failure
rate with this first attempt discouraged us from pursuing this matter further.
We receive many
E-mails which contain "proofs" that the earth is really young. If
you have one not listed in this section, please Email us.
- Dr. Hugh Ross & Kathy Ross, "The real issue: The creation date
controversy," Reasons to Believe, at: http://www.origins.org/real/ri9403/date.html (May no longer be
- "The Geographical Provinces of Wisconsin," at: http://www.wisconline.com/wisconsin/geoprovinces/
- "The Rocky Mountain System," at: http://www.aqd.nps.gov/grd/usgsnps/province/rockymtn.html
Copyright © 1996 to 2011 by Ontario Consultants on
Last updated: 2011-FEB-12
Author: B.A. Robinson