From this discussion:
Touchstone and GloverGJ,
I just can’t leave it alone. I’ve learned from past experience not to say I will not reply to an argument anymore, because often I can’t resist.
So. The OT says that a legal matter could be decided on the evidence of two witnesses. You’ve implied I must be ignorant of the scientific evidence. So I’ll tell you this, to make you aware of my educational background and capacity to understand your argument: I’m not a scientist. But I have received a B.A. degree from a secular university, including classes in physics, astronomy, chemistry and calculus. I have taught calculus, geometry and trigonometry on the high school level. I am trained in logic. I am aware of the arguments regarding the speed of light, the distance of stars and the Doppler shifts we have observed. I am also aware of the arguments regarding radiometric dating of rocks, though to a lesser degree.
So let me ask you- what are, in your minds, the strongest two arguments for the old age of the earth? What are the two witnesses you would appeal to? Please don’t make it lengthy- let’s just name the evidences and briefly summarize them. If I need to do research to understand the arguments, I know how to do that research. You will know from my replies whether I understand well enough or not.
Update: Here is the discussion on Evangelutionist’s site. It’s quite lengthy. The discussion revolves not so much around the specific evidences, but on the question of epistemology, the basis for our knowledge and understanding of things.
I am endeavoring to show that belief in old or young earth is a choice you make. Judge for yourself whether I am successful or not. The evidence does not compel belief in an old earth as there are possible explanations for the evidence. Even if the evidence says what they say it does, there is simply the possibility that God created it that way six thousand years ago, with some processes already advanced:
All of the data you presuppose could have simply been created in that state by God six thousand years ago. I know that such a solution is usually mocked, but really, why should it be? There’s a perfectly good reason why God would create the light of the stars already on earth, and that’s that He wanted us to see the stars. Stars are very useful for navigation and other things. And all of these heavy elements and radioactive isotopes must have their purposes too. Just because we don’t know why God would do something like that doesn’t mean He didn’t do it, or that there isn’t some reason of which we are unaware. Can you prove that it’s impossible for God to have created everything six thousand years ago with some processes already advanced? It is necessary for you to prove this in order to make your case. And there’s another possible reason that He did it that way, and that is the real possibility that He did it in order to test people, to see whether they would believe Genesis 1-11 or the theories of God-hating idolaters. Unworthy of God, perhaps you might say? Isn’t that deceptive, dishonest? But God told us He would do exactly that: Deuteronomy 13:1 “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder,
2 “and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’ — which you have not known — ‘and let us serve them,’
3 “you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. This isn’t the only passage that tells us God would do this. Revelation mentions it several times. Many passages speak of God clouding the minds of people with madness and giving their minds over to lies to punish them for their rebellion. It’s not really deception when God told us He would do it for the purpose of testing us, and provided the truth in clear and unambiguous language as well. He said He would introduce misleading and difficult evidence into play to see whether or not we would believe what He has clearly told us. I think that’s exactly what’s going on here. Another example of this exact thing is the story of Micaiah and King Ahab in 1 Kings 22, where the prophet tells Ahab that God sent lying spirits to deceive him through his false prophets so that he would go to war against Syria and be killed. God at the same time provided the true witness in the form of Micaiah, telling him the truth, so that Ahab would be tested, to see whether he would follow God or not.
“Can you prove that it’s impossible for God to have created everything six thousand years ago with some processes already advanced?” Absolutely not – such a thing is impossible to prove. Neither can you prove that the earth was creation this morning and all of our childhood memories are false. You can never prove these things. As a result, the “appearance of age” argument is the only logical YEC argument out there. If you agree to this, then we can stop all of this silly arguing over the “evidence” because it will always favor an old earth, and you will always have a logical way to dismiss it – since the “actual” age as revealed by God is much younger. If this is your position, why concern yourself with the evidence for an old earth in the first place?
The point is to show the fact that this belief is a choice you make. The evidence does not require it. It may be a hard choice in the face of the pressures the world puts on us. But everything about Christianity flies in the face of the world. This is no different. Christians must make hard choices and suffer the scorn of the world.