Thank you for the response, Con. I will now give my rebuttal to your arguments.
I personally do think the earth and universe is just only 1000's of years old though… modern science does have a chance to possibly be wrong
Certainly I agree that science can be wrong. The difference between science and pseudoscience is that science is constantly reinventing and renewing itself as new evidence is discovered, while pseudoscience sets out to prove a claim and ignores any evidence that contradicts it. The organization behind your first source, Answers in Genesis, are purveyors of pseudoscience. Of course there’s always the possibility that modern science is wrong - if you could successfully prove such a thing, and disprove their claims. “Creation science” doesn’t use the scientific method, but looks for cherry-picked data and uses circular reasoning to support an already existing conclusion, and fails to successfully disprove real science. To demonstrate this, I’ll take a closer look at the six evidences of a Young Earth listed in your source.
1. Radiocarbon in Diamonds
Their argument seems to be “We found some diamonds that were fifty thousand years old, so that means the Earth can’t be billions of years old!” Well...no it doesn’t. Even if they were right about the age of the diamonds (which would be shocking, given that every diamond we know of is at least a few billion years old), that doesn’t prove a Young Earth. In fact, it still contradicts the common date of creation as six thousand years ago. Besides, the creation scientists who embarked on this study seem to lack a basic understanding of carbon-14 dating. It’s well-known that radiocarbon decays relatively quickly
, so scientists only use it on objects they know to be at most tens of thousands of years old. For anything older, they use other methods such as K-Ar dating
. In fact, the farthest back carbon dating can go is...about fifty thousand years. Which is exactly how old this team of Young-Earth scientists thinks the diamonds are. But of course, if you use carbon dating on any object fifty thousand years old or older, you’d be expected to find the same result. That’s just bad science.
2. Recession of the Moon
Answers in Genesis (which I’ll now abbreviate as “AiG”) claims that Earth can’t be billions of years old because of the rate at which the moon is gradually moving away from us, known as “lunar recession”. They are basing this on the outdated research of one scientist in the 60s, which suggests that the moon couldn’t have been receding for more than 1.5-2.3 billion years (notice how AiG conveniently says “1.5 billion”, the lowest possible date, but portrays it as the highest). This research was improved upon in the 70s and 80s, and found that recession could have indeed been occurring for 4.5 billion years, the age of the Earth. You can read more here
, on a Christian website, no less.
3. Earth’s Decaying Magnetic Field
AiG, inexplicably, claims that the current state of science fails to explain the numerous “rapid reversals” that Earth’s magnetic field has undergone in the past. I can’t imagine why they would say such a thing, because each “rapid reversal” lasts tens to hundreds of thousands of years, which stands in direct contradiction to the idea of a “Young Earth”, but is easily explainable by modern science. Even the scientist that AiG’s “evidence” is based on has spoken out
against the creationist misrepresentation of his theories.
4. Dinosaur Soft Tissue
This entry is carefully cherry-picked. AiG claims that a T-rex fossil was found with flexible connective tissue intact, and says that we can conclude it’s impossible for dinosaurs to be 65 million years old or more, because biological material can’t last more than a thousand years. But what they’re ignoring, or choose not to mention, is that the tissue on this dinosaur wasn’t biological material at all. Usually, fossils become fossils by a process called mineralization, where their remains are replaced with rock, and by this point bacteria have usually eaten up every last bit of their flesh, leaving only a skeleton. But in some circumstances
, fossilization can occur before the bacteria gets to the body, so soft tissue will also
be mineralized. It’s rare, but it can happen. AiG is either clueless about these things, or brilliantly manipulative.
5. Human Population Growth
AiG says that the rate of human population growth is more consistent with having been around for six thousand years than millions. But they commit a fatal error: assuming that the rate of human population growth has always been, and will always be, the same throughout history. This is obviously untrue. Simply look at this graph
of the human population over time. In the past few hundreds of years, the population has skyrocketed, for multiple reasons including advances in medical science, declining child mortality rates, rising lifespans, greater availability of food and resources, and the general decline of poverty, violence, and warfare. Their estimation that the population “doubles every 150 years” is nothing short of absurd, and ignores the vastly different conditions humans have lived in throughout our long history.
6. Tightly Folded Rock Strata
Finally, AiG claims that, because rock can’t bend without cracking or breaking, modern science can’t explain the tight folds of rock in the Grand Canyon. But what seems like “solid rock” to us is mere plastic in the face of long-term geological change, and can be deformed into different shapes without so much as a crack. Stone walkways and statues are often eroded over time by tourists walking on or touching them - for example, one statue
in Paris often has a certain bulge in its pants rubbed by women for good luck, and the afflicted area is rapidly eroding. And if the hands of thousands of amorous French women can cause a stone's surface to wither away, imagine what the almighty forces of plate tectonics can do.
I know I may have spent too much time lingering on a source you only gave the link to. I certainly don’t expect you to answer everything I said, nor am I trying to suggest that these are your arguments in any way. But I did this to prove a point: to show you that organizations like Answers in Genesis aren’t as reliable as you may think. They not only don’t understand the science they claim to be using, but pay no attention to the scientific method either. Rather than gathering evidence and drawing a conclusion from it, they set out with a conclusion in mind, that the Bible is literally true, and throw out any evidence that contradicts the idea. And it’s because there’s no good evidence that the Bible is literally true that AiG’s reasons are more based on finding flaws and mistakes in existing science, and unlike fundamentalism, science freely admits to making mistakes. As soon as there's the slightest bit of healthy disagreement among scientists, or the smallest gap in our knowledge, these institutions are all over it like bloodhounds and point to it as evidence. The reasons on the list all completely contradict each other, leaping from saying Earth is fifty thousand years old to 1.5 billion years old to just a few thousand years old. Their arguments are out of desperation, and quickly fall apart under scrutiny, even from a non-expert like myself. Feel free to continue linking “creation science” organizations if you wish, but I don’t consider them trustworthy sources, and will continue to criticize them.
For example a canine will never in no amount of time become a feline. No matter how many times it reproduces.
It seems like you don’t fully grasp how evolution works. Evolution isn’t about different types of modern-day animals morphing into one another. All different species share a common ancestor, which can be found more recently depending on how closely related the two species are. For example, going off of your example of cats and dogs, the two creatures share a common grouping: the order carnivora
. Not to be confused with “carnivore” (which can describe any meat-eater), this is a classification of mammals with teeth and claws designed for hunting, including both cats and dogs. And indeed, despite how little information we’re able to go on, scientists have already found the common ancestor of felines and canines, the Miacis
, which lived tens of millions of years ago.
Now, you accept this grouping of animals based on similarity, right? After all, you acknowledge that a cat and a lion are of the same “kind”, despite being different species. This is because they are in the same family
, which is a narrower classification than order, but less narrow than species. You acknowledge that they are more closely related than cats and dogs. However, if all species of animals were created at the same time by God, the idea of some creatures being “related” is completely meaningless. The reason cats are more closely related with lions than with dogs is because they diverged
from their common ancestor more recently: about 5-10 million years ago. I understand if this is new to you, because creationist arguments are known for vastly misrepresenting evolution.
Bacteria sometimes can mutate and become resistant to antibiotics, but in the process it lost the ability to do something else. It now can't survive without the antibiotics. If you was to take the antibiotics away it would die.
Where did you get this information? Because this is certainly not true. When a bacteria strain builds up a resistance to antibiotics, they don’t become dependent on it. They simply keep on going as before. In fact, certain types of bacteria have built up so much immunity to medicine as to become a public health hazard
- they certainly didn’t die out, as you say.
All natural selection does is select. It never creates. It only scrambles existing DNA information and never creates new DNA information.
You’re absolutely right. At the DNA level, we are made up of the same basic parts as those bacteria, just in different configurations. Every living thing is a great mass of cells working in tandem. How does this support you, though? Why do animals have to be created, rather than selected? Can you give me an example of an animal which creates “new DNA information” rather than simply scrambling up the DNA of its parents?
Science is observable, repeatable and testable… Is one kind of animal changing into a whole other kind of animal observable, repeatable, or testable? No.
I have heard this argument before, and it’s quite clever, because it invents a definition of science which doesn’t exist. The idea that something isn't scientific if we can’t directly look at it happening directly before our eyes. This is, of course, untrue. That would mean that, to use AiG’s example, the moon isn’t moving away from the Earth. If I were to use your logic, I would say “Well, if I go outside at night, the moon doesn’t look any farther away than the night before. I could do this for a thousand nights and it would be the exact same distance from Earth. Lunar recession isn’t observable, repeatable, or testable.” I could make the same argument to say that, for instance, we don’t know that the Roman Empire ever existed. And you could respond that we may not be able to observe the Roman Empire now, but we know it existed because we can observe all the physical evidence that has remained of it after such a long time, and see its influence today...and I would say the same of evolution. We have evidence from the fossil record, comparison of DNA sequences, vestigial structures, biogeography, speciation, and much more. And even if we were to subscribe to your definition of science, we still have direct evidence of evolution in action: for example, the peppered moth
As for the fossil record I haven't seen any evidence yet that shows one animal has ever changed into another kind of animal. It seems to me like every time we find a supposed missing link fossil. It ends up not being a missing link after all.
The idea of a “missing link fossil” demonstrates a lack of understanding in how evolution works. You seem to be implying that, say, if we went back and looked for the common ancestor between a horse and a squirrel, it would look like some kind of horrible hybrid between the two, perhaps called a “squorse”. But that simply isn’t how evolution works. The common ancestor in that case would probably look mostly squirrel-like, since rodents were the first mammals, and thus creationists wouldn’t be satisfied, because all they're looking for is a jigsaw puzzle of different animal parts. We are biased towards thinking in terms of the creatures we’re familiar with, but in the 3.5 billion years life has been around, it has taken many diverse and fascinating forms, some of which have disappeared, and some of which have greatly changed to suit their environments. The world doesn’t revolve around us and the current stage of life. We are just a moment in biological time. A small blip before we’re succeeded by whatever creatures come after us. If you want to pursue the idea of “missing link fossils”, then we are going to become the missing link fossils for whatever species come after us millions of years later.
I will drop the “geocentrism” point. Your counter-argument seems to be that “God did it”, and I can’t really respond to that without critiquing the Bible which God originates from, which I'm pursuing in my other arguments anyway.
So, you admit that the Bible has mistakes in copying throughout the ages. My question is: why would God allow this to happen? I’m trying to think from a Christian’s perspective here. So if God is all-knowing and all-powerful, and directly involved in human affairs, and wants to reveal his holy word to humanity through scripture...then why would he allow these mistakes to happen throughout history? Couldn’t he simply, with a wave of his hand, move the stylus of the Hebrew scribe who wrote “eight” instead of “eighteen” and correct his error? Wouldn’t that solve so many future problems? GotQuestions seems quick to downplay these as simple human errors, while elsewhere saying that the Bible is completely perfect and unblemished. And on that note, why would God put so many fossils in the ground that appeared to be millions of years old if he created the world in 4004 BC at 9 in the morning? Wouldn't it be better to show evidence of his creation? If he flooded the world in 2348 BC, why don’t we have any evidence that Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilization at the time was interrupted, or indeed any evidence of a global flood at all? If God is real, he seems to be making it very hard for his followers to justify believing in him.
All three of your sources admit that the numerical discrepancies were copyist errors. Which is, of course, true. But if you admit that the Bible has errors, does that not destroy the whole point of Biblical inerrancy? You say that “the Original writings are the perfect infallible writings and the copies are not”. We don’t have access to the original writings, so for all we know, they could be completely different in every way. And to continue the last paragraph, why would God, instead of preserving his message throughout history, which Christian theology dictates he’d be completely capable of doing, instead leave it open to be riddled with numerous human errors for all of history? Just as a joke? Why even read the Bible at all if you’re admitting that what we get is the flawed version tainted by humans?
You say that the genealogy in Luke is Mary’s genealogy. I’ve never heard of this idea, and would like to hear any evidence for it. The Gospel of Luke says that Jesus was “the son, so it was thought, of Joseph”, acknowledging that he wasn’t his biological father. Which establishes that the list concerns his supposed biological lineage. So then why would it call Joseph “the son of Heli” if that was his father-in-law? The “inheritance laws” idea seems rather flimsy to me. After all, if Heli was legally Joseph’s father by Mosaic law, why did Matthew pick Jacob instead?
You give a second argument, that Luke’s genealogy is complete and Matthew’s is just a selection. Which, of course, still doesn’t account for all the contradictions between the two. I understand that they were written for different purposes. But even these purposes seem blurred. You say that Matthew was focusing on the kingly, patriarchal line from Abraham to Jesus, but point out the greater focus on women and the use of the feminine word form for Jesus’ parent. Then you say this:
When looking at Luke 3, the genealogical list is strictly men from Jesus to Adam, whereas in Matthew’s list, some women were included, such as Tamar, Ruth, and so on. So, if this were a genealogy of Mary, then she would be listed.
She is listed, though. Matthew's genealogy directly says that Mary is the mother of Jesus, while Luke's genealogy doesn't even mention her. If anything, you're arguing for the opposite of what you're saying. I'm going to assume this was an honest mistake, which I can certainly forgive. I will say this: would you be open to the possibility that this contradiction in the Gospels is an honest mistake committed by copyists? After all, you’ve admitted that errors are possible, and that our version of scripture is incomplete and flawed.
Thank you for linking these last sources to me, but I won’t be responding to them. I prefer responding to my opponent’s arguments, and besides, I’ve already spent way too much time on that first source. In a later round, maybe I’ll address those videos. For now, I turn it back over to you.
Hmmm I feel like I could maybe defend the biology, physics, and astronomy. I don't know about the geography, archaeology, and history though. Those three are definitely my weakness. I'll think about it because maybe I could learn something new and it would be an interesting challenge.
No, that's not what I meant. I'm not going to focus on anything that's clearly meant to be a parable or metaphor within the context of its book. I'm going to be focusing more on stories such as those in Genesis and Exodus, which the Bible certainly takes literally. If you're willing to defend that, feel free to accept!
I am interested in this debate, but don't know if I want to accept. When you say the Bible is not literally true do you mean every single book? The Bible consists of different books with different writing styles. For example psalms is poetry, and not everything in that book is supposed to be taken literally because of it. There are many different examples of verses you are not supposed to be taking literally.
If you are saying I have to defend the entire Bible to be literal as in every single verse is literal then I can't do it.
You should take this debate
This one's for you...