Creationist Wonders How Anyone Could Know the Age of the Earth Without Looking to Bible July 28, 2012

Creationist Wonders How Anyone Could Know the Age of the Earth Without Looking to Bible

This is Creationism in action.

Answers in Genesis’ Ken Ham is talking about the sad state of affairs in Christianity because even some professors at Christian schools accept evolution. (Cue gasps of horror.) So he tells this story of one such professor:

In one interview, Dr. [Darrel] Falk is asked the question, “If a young Christian undergraduate came to you and said, ‘what is our current understanding of the best proof for the age of the universe,’ what would you say?” Dr. Falk’s response plainly reveals his bias toward evolution and millions of years:

The age of the universe is around 13 billions years old. I would talk to them a little bit, and I would say the age of the earth is 4.3 billion years old. I’ve got various books I could refer them to, and I would go through and say, “Here’s the kind of data that shows the age of the universe.” And I would kind of lead them through that process of the role of astronomy that demonstrates so clearly how old the universe is; the age of the rocks which tells us how old the earth is.

First, it’s interesting to point out that the standard response from many evolutionists is that the earth is 4.5–4.6 billion years old. But Dr. Falk is claiming 4.3 billion — that’s 200–300 million years different! Now, Dr. Falk is a professing Christian and is teaching at a Christian university, so why would he choose to answer a student’s question about the age of the earth and universe without ever looking to Scripture?

The 4.3 billion year thing is probably just a slip-up (it’s closer to 4.54-billion-years-old), but that last part is the kicker:

How can you answer the age of the earth without ever quoting the Bible?!

Because of the many things the Bible isn’t, it sure as hell isn’t a science book. Even a lot of Christians acknowledge that.

I think Ham has a point, though. There are a lot of mental gymnastics going on in the minds of people who try to reconcile scientific realities with Biblical mythology. At some point, something has to give… and the science on the age of the universe isn’t changing anytime soon.

(Image via Shutterstock)


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  • Any accredited college should have a policy whereby a student who does not understand or accept the known age of the Earth and the Universe would be suspended and directed towards remedial education until their deficit is cured… the same sort of thing done when functionally illiterate students somehow get accepted. College students should not be asking basic questions about the age of the Earth or Universe; this material is core high school (or earlier) curriculum, and is tested in standardized college entrance exams. A student who hasn’t learned the material isn’t yet ready for college.

    The policy for professors and other instructors, of course, should simply be termination for using the Bible as evidence for any scientific instruction.

  • I totally get what he’s saying though… why look at multiple independent lines of corroborating evidence that have been rigorously peer-reviewed and scrutinized for decades when you can read one book that has the answer right there, kinda, if you interpret it in a certain way, but still! 

  • My question to Ken Ham is So what is like to lie everyday to children?

  • Pollracker

    I just google it

  • Some people don’t consider the planet ‘earth’ until the other planetismal stuck the other one and sent a lesser amount spinning off to create the moon.   And I think that happened 4.3 bya.

  • LesterBallard

    When Ken Ham does his “how do you know, were you there” shtick, I want to punch him right in his smug face. What the fuck is it, Australia, New Zealand? You send these morons like Ham and Comfort to us?

  • advancedatheist

    So what do the creationists make of all the exoplanets astronomers keep finding? If mindless natural processes suffice to account for the existence of planets orbiting other stars, why does our planet’s origin require an intelligent designer?

  • Stev84

    They left, because the US is the only western country these clowns could make a living. They’d be laughed out of every room anywhere else.

  • Stev84

    Those planets were made by god too. To confuse us. Just like god put fossils in the soil to mess with scientists

  • jdm8

    Multiple lines of evidence is the key thing for me.  Pulling some figures out of a book that doesn’t have such external provenance doesn’t count.

    The Bible doesn’t directly say anything about the age of the Earth either.  They have to add up various broken and likely made-up genealogies in the book to arrive at a number.

  • I’m curious as to what Ken Ham thinks the bible says about the age of the earth. It certainly doesn’t give any kind of numbers as I recall……

  • A3Kr0n

    I think the guy walking along the road looking for half smoked cigarettes deserves more notice than Ken Ham. I saw a guy down in Rockford doing that today, and I took notice.

  • Bible says the earth is flat with little stars stuck to the inside of a steel bowl.

  • machintelligence

    The correct response is: “As a matter of fact I was!”
    When he calls you a  liar, ask him: “How do you know, were you there?”

  • Sonorus

    I was raised Fundie.  I was taught that the earth was created in 4004 B.C.  That would mean that the earth is now 6,016 years old (give or take a year).  I was never clear on the math, but I am curious that lately the numbers given are 10,000 or even 14, 000.  It should be noted that the same Catholic monks who added up the begats and estimated the age of the earth also added up the Egyptian dynasties and that would mean that Egypt was a country before the earth was created.  I don’t think any of them took those numbers literally for that and other reasons.  Anyway, I am curious as to when the earth’s age was extended to 10 or 14 thousand from the old standard of 6.  Are they accounting for the Sumerian and Egyptian civilizations that are too old to fit into the 6,000 year model?  Anyone know?

  •  Love it. Please, someone do that to old Ham and video his response.

  • Going to have to disagree. The average evolution-and-old-earth accepting college freshman doesn’t know any more about these topics than the average evolution-and-old-earth denying freshman does. In either case, they probably just accepted adult authority without understanding the evidence. It’s a matter of luck.

    One of the greatest benefits of a university education is that it takes young people out of their original cultural environments and exposes them to a greater diversity of people and ideas. Letting fundamentalist students into college is the best remedy for their unlucky upbringing. Keeping them out until they change their mind is like withholding medicine until they stop being sick.

    I was a Young Earth Creationist through most of my undergraduate career. What turned me around was the matter-of-fact acceptance of mainstream science from my peers and the campus library. The clash of beliefs prompted me to look for evidence to back up what I believed. Library research provided all the evidence I needed…to change my mind. Now I can articulate the reasons for believing in an old earth and for believing in evolution far better than the typically “scientifically literate” student who has never really thought much about these topics, a student who thinks science is a collection of facts rather than a method.

    For what it’s worth, here’s the book that did more to change my mind than any other: http://www.amazon.com/The-Age-Earth-Brent-Dalrymple/dp/0804723311

    Dalrymple does have a newer, shorter book out but I emphatically un-recommend giving it to fundamentalists because his tone has shifted in a way that is likely to alienate such readers before the evidence sinks in. 

  • Ken

    I’d like to just say live and let live.  But this kind of stupid just doesn’t quit, and actually seems to be stronger than it was 20 years ago.  Does evolution run backwards?

  • eskomo

    Small defect in the original counting as you noted. Several civilizations have been around longer that 6000 years .  They just ignore everything.

  • Renshia

    That wasn’t god it was the devil. You know, the nasty one.

  • Silver_fox-trot

    I don’t look to the bible for accurate facts on the age of the Earth for the same reason I don’t ask my hairdresser about open-heart surgery. 

  • If the students don’t know fundamental material, they are not yet ready for a four-year college or university. They should no more be admitted than if they can’t read. A school might offer conditional acceptance, but should send them back to community college to provide remedial learning that they failed to get in high school. It’s a waste of resources for a fully accredited four-year college to be providing that, and having such students just drags everybody else down a notch, as well.

    Also, I think that if colleges were more demanding in their entrance requirements, it would put additional pressure on public schools to make sure they were teaching what the colleges expected their entrants to know.

  • He’s been lying to himself so long that he doesn’t recognize the fallacies he spreads to children… and adults.

  • Sure it does. You just add up all the begats like Bishop Ussher did. You might have to make a few guesses and assumptions, but it’s certainly going to be a number like a few thousand, not a few billion.

    (Using “Ken Ham” and “thinks” in the same sentence is oxymoronic.)

  • Not just the stars and planets were made to confuse us, but the actual photons we record were created at just the right point in space to make us see the Universe as billions of years old.

    I have to say, if I were to become a theist, I’m going to worship Loki or some other trickster, not God.

  • I love that Satan is the baddy. He killed millions less than God, but the devil is the bad guy? Lol.

  • Deven Kale

     I’ve always thought the Bible said that the earth was more of a disc, with a clear dome-shaped “firmament” above it to hold the “waters above” off of the land. You know, like one of those snowglobes you put on your desk, but backwards.

  • JohnnieCanuck

    Which is why the Shuttle could only get so high above the Earth. If it went any higher, it would bump into the firmament and maybe even crack it. That could release all the waters held back by the bowl and flood the Earth again.

    Bible says there is a mountain where you can see all four corners of the flat Earth, but I have my doubts. How could the firmament be a bowl over a flat Earth? Answer me that Creation Scientismists. The lamps of Heaven don’t get closer as you get near the edge of the world.

  • JohnnieCanuck

    How does the devil get to force an omnipotent god to do his bidding? ‘Sides, it says in the Bible that God is responsible for all Evil. Presumably that would include planting evidence that falsifies the Bible.

  • Your hairdresser can probably do a better job with open-heart surgery than the Bible does with any facts about natural history.

  •  So a student who says, “Yeah, I hear the Earth is, like, billions of years old and life is all related” but knows nothing more and cares little is ready for higher education, but a student who may be brilliant in some other area and was unlucky enough to be brought up in a fundamentalist sect is told she’s unfit until she changes her mind in the same environment responsible for her beliefs?

    If you want stricter standards for teachers, fine. I’m all for that. But what you’re suggesting is a Catch-22 that would deny students the opportunity to improve.

  • I’d say neither is ready. The student who can only parrot a scrap of information and doesn’t really care know anything shouldn’t be accepted at all. The smart, but ignorant, student should be conditionally accepted and sent somewhere for remedial classes.

    This doesn’t deny anybody the opportunity to improve; it makes it easier. Four-year colleges should not need to provide remedial education classes.

  • Glasofruix

     “Does evolution run backwards?”

    When you see Ham’s face, you might wonder.

  • You mean, the earth… isn’t flat?

  • You mean, the earth… isn’t flat?

  • jdm8

     Do you happen to remember if anyone noticed that the creation story in Genesis 2 contradicts Genesis 1?  I thought that was interesting.  Normally, I’d be curious what they think, but I’m afraid of their inane arguments causing brain damage.

  • Renshia

     Hey man, all I was saying is, I heard, it was the devil that put the fossils in the rocks, not god. Don’t ask me to explain the crazy shit. I can’t. Just know that with god all things are possible and that’s all the explanation you need. The more bat shit crazy, just translates itself into, see how awesome our god is. Your just over thinking it that’s all.

  • Renshia

     And yet , There was a man named Jesus……

    http://youtu.be/ML2Oa4Oigvo

  • Deven Kale

    “[A]ll I was saying is, I heard, it was the devil that put the fossils in the rocks, not god.”

    In all honesty, If you have any evidence for this I really would like to see it. That’s a pretty fantastic claim, and I hope that you wouldn’t say something like this without some sort of reason to believe it. Especially something beyond “I heard…” which is literally nothing more than a rumor.

  • Renshia

     I concur, but it was what I heard. Don’t blame me for the crazy stuff.  I also heard they found jesuss foot prints mixed in with the dinosaurs. How do you explain that? I think it was a  pastor told me that. He wouldn’t lie.

    [A]
    >>> “,” all

  • Brian Sherson

    “One of the greatest benefits of a university education is that it takes young people out of their original cultural environments and exposes them to a greater diversity of people and ideas. Letting fundamentalist students into college is the best remedy for their unlucky upbringing. Keeping them out until they change their mind is like withholding medicine until they stop being sick.”

    This is BEAUTIFUL!

  • Creo-loons like Ken “The Ayatollah of Appalachia” Ham love to use the argument “Were you there?” as a potential disproof of evolution.

    Errr…. hey Ken? How do you know Genesis or any of the rest of the Bible is accurate? Were YOU there?

    According to Genesis there was certainly nobody there during those seven days you prattle on about.

    So what did God do? Leave the creation blueprints and work schedule lying around for Adam to take a peek at?

    Thbbbbbbbbt!

  • Pseudonym

    Even so,  “you add up a bunch of stuff, make a few guesses and assumptions, squint a lot and get X” is very different from “the Bible says”.

    In this case, Paul Reed is correct that “the Bible says” nothing.  To get a figure for the age of the Earth, any figure at all, you need to impose your idea of what the Bible is, and then do a lot of inference from the Bible and your idea.

    The key point, foundational to understanding fundamentalists, is this: fundamentalists are the worst cherry-pickers of all, because they don’t even admit that they’re cherry-picking.

  • Well, of course, if you want to be precise about it the Bible says nothing of substance about anything. Nevertheless, if you’re inclined to take it literally, and are willing to play interpretation games, it’s a lot easier to come up with the Universe being a few thousand years old than a few billion.

    The thing is, it’s the biblical literalists that we have to deal with, so understanding their thought processes (such as they are) is useful.

  • avelworldcreator

    I’ve seen his face. He looks like something from a caveman movie. In fact he looks like an artist’s concept for Homo Neanderthalis. And I’m being serious about this. Every time I see him I remember the recent suggestions that both species of Homo might have interbred. 

  • avelworldcreator

    Sure. Not only did god leave the blueprints around, he carved them in Silly Putty, gave them to Moses, who resurrected long enough to to give them to the Catholic Church. The Catholics put them into the Vatican’s corner stone. The various Popes have had it pulled out in the last century or so to tear off chunks to give to their – ahem – grandkids (wink. wink. nudge. nudge.) every Easter. The annual miracle of the “Lifting of the Stones” is not to be missed.

    (Sorry, I just couldn’t resist that! 😀 )

  •  It always makes me chuckle when I hear someone go on about “what the Bible says”, or even worse, “what the Bible teaches”.

  • Edward

     As a kiwi

  • Edward

    As a kiwi living in Australia – we’re really really sorry about any and all the fundamentalist twits we’ve exported to the rest of the world. It’s probably because so few people here take them even vaguely seriously.

    (also, fail on the three word post – someone please delete it)