I have a few of annoying memories that keep popping up in my head from time to time. I need to stop thinking about them. Perhaps discussing them here with intelligent people will help.
What brought it back this time was watching the series Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey. At one point in the show they explain that the universe can't be just 6000 years old like some fundamentalist christians believe, because the light from a vast majority of the stars would not have had time to travel to earth in just six millennia.
All right then. Let's rewind to a few years back in my life. I was at a lecture evening with a friend of mine named Tor. Yes I know. A Swede named Tor. Kind of obvious, isn't it?
Tor is an archeologist. He had just returned from a dig in Denmark, and held a very interesting lecture. During a break me and my then girlfriend were approached by an older gentleman. He started talking to my girlfriend about archeology and geology. I thought he seemed a little unhinged. Suddenly he said, "It was a very good lecture your friend held. I know a great deal about archeology, since I am an amateur in the field myself. But I have to tell you that most archeological theories today are completely false."
I though this sounded strange, so I asked him what he meant by that. He said that he was a devout christian and that he had calculated the age of the earth using the Bible. Six thousand years. I couldn't believe my ears. I told him that I didn't believe him. What about carbon dating? Fossils?
The man told me that fossil remains are false evidence. Someone had put it in the ground to deceive people.
I got slightly annoyed and asked who would do such a thing.
He basically said that Satan had put the fossils in the ground to trick humanity into not believing in the bible.
Some time later I had a frustrating discussion with two religious people who came knocking on my door. They claimed that Carbon dating is unreliabale, because there is no evidence that the radioactive decay of carbon-14 has been constant throughout the history of the universe.
Later yet I heard a man say on the radio that modern astronomy is all wrong, because God can make light travel faster or slower at will. Then I saw a documentary, and in it was man who desperately was trying to proove that the grand canyon could not possibly be older than 6000 years.
I am not good at math or physics. It would be interesting if someone who is good at those subjects could try to explain what the universe would look like if these people were right. How much faster would light have to travel from the farthest galaxies if it was going to reach earth in just 6000 years? How much faster would C-14 have to decay? Would there be extraordinarly strange effects of god's and satan's tampering that we could observe?
My experience, John, is very similar. Logic, science, etc dont seem to work. What seems to work for me is to demonstrate that the god of the bible is omni nothing. And definitely not all loving. The stories of Job, David's wives being raped to punish him and Lot are very powerful. Only the most obstinate can argue for such a god, in which case such a person is not worth wasting time on.
HI Sven. Not to worry. Anyone who counts up the generations etc. in Genesis comes up with the same answer: approx. 6000 years. When this was first done in 100 - 200 BCE the date of creation was 5800 BCE. In 1000 CE the date = 4800 BCE. Today YECers claim approx. 3600 BCE. Given enough time the earth will have been created after the supposed birthdate of Jesus. It would be a hoot to hear YCEers explain that one away.
Genesis was one of the last books of the Old Testament to be written (5th Cent BCE) & is completely ahistorical. The creation story is a reworking of Babylonian & Canaanite creation myths while the tale of Noah goes back to the sumerian Epic of Gligamesh, 1st recorded in 3000 BCE. Also, check out the work of chief israeli archeologist Israel Finklestein. You will be amazed.
Finally, YEC advocates always leave out the fact there are living trees that are older than 6,000 yrs. In fact, there is a tree in Norway that is 10,000+ years old. Biologists just count the rings!
Hope this helps.
From what I've heard, its pointless to argue with the YECs (thanks for the acronym, by the way) about the Bible itself. I've never tried -- I only bickered a little bit with those Jehova's Witnesses about carbon dating, and not the old testament creation myth. But I find what you've explained very interesting.
I think the information about the trees is much more explosive stuff. Almost everyone knows why trees have those rings, and that you can tell the difference between good years and bad years by their width. It would take quite a feat of self deception to explain away that ten thousand year old tree, since the evidence is so simple and straightforward. It appeals to common sense on a very basic level. A person would have to be pretty unhinged to not at least start to have serious doubts about the YEC nonsense after being showed something like that.
The YEC people I've met were in deep denial. A woman I worked with claimed that the earth was created old & that fossils, sediment layering, radioactive elements etc. were just put there, by the Christian God, to test our faith. She didn't seem to realize the the enormous consequences of this belief.
In this belief system an infinite, all knowing, all seeing, omni present being creates a species & endows it with the ability to observe, think & draw logical conclusions about the world it perceives around it. That being then inserts it's "Adam" into a universe that has been seeded with false clues about the nature of that universe knowing full well that Adam will pick up on these clues & inevitably come to certain conclusions.
After a few years our "benevolent" being dictates a book to a small, unregarded, desert tribe in which he lays out the "true" nature of the universe. He says anyone who doesn't believe what the book says will be punished, horribly, forever.
The claims of the book contradict what people see around them in nature so a great many of them don't buy it. A great many more never hear about the book or go by different books claiming to have been dictated by other benevolent beings. The kicker is that our benevolent being knew this would happen right from the get go. Not surprising since it is all knowing.
My question is: What sort of being creates intelligent creatures only to punish them eternally for something it knew they would do? I think a good answer is : A cosmically evil being.
What is really twisted is that because the being is infinite, that is without limit, by definition there is nothing that is not this being. Everything it creates is part of itself. So, when it tortures it's creatures, it is torturing itself. To my mind this is so cosmically fucked up that it beggars the imagination.
Hahaha... I have tried the ring thing. Then they go like " Oh, don't you know that sometimes two rings form in the same year? If you take 2 years per ring, that 10,000 years is actually 5000 years!" Ok, granted, maybe I have the misfortune of meeting the most obstinate YECs.
What I have found totally unexplainable to the YECs is the second day of creation. When god put a solid firmament/dome above the sky that kept water up there from falling on the earth except during the flood. On the fourth day of creation he put the sun, moon and stars on this dome. No one can explain that away. Its not even cosmology. Thats basic astronomy.