This is a post I wanted to write for some time, but somehow it slipped off my mind in the general confusion of everyday life. About a month ago, I ran into a YEC blog called “Sirius Knotts” via my valued co-blogger, For Knowledge!
His recent post is also what prompted me to write this post. When I first read Sirius’ post, I was intrigued by the possibility of a biblical paradigm for geology. Sure, I was aware of the need for any “biblical geology” to firmly account for the coherence and consistency of modern geology, with its old earth and the multiple lines of evidence pointing to this old earth.
But still, intrigued I was, nonetheless. Especially since even though flood geologists are relatively (as far as I know) rare as compared to mainstream geologists, they’re still trained geologists, and probably know their way around a pickaxe (horrible metaphor, I know).
I was quite perplexed, of course, when I approached Sirius in this post which he wrote about the fossil record and how it shows evidence of a young earth. (To be fair, he did say he didn’t mean to really show evidence for a young earth in his post, but just to show that the evidence does not show an old one)
See, since I don’t know much about flood geology, or geology in general, I thought of asking a straightforward question: considering the fact that the fossil record, according to Sirius, exhibited evidence for a young earth (or a “not old one”), the most obviously pertinent question would be: “how do you date geological samples on planet earth and does such dating confirm independently that the earth is a few thousand years’ old?”
Allow me to reproduce just the first correspondence between Sirius and myself:
“Sirius, I have a question: Is there anything in flood geology that provides accurate, consistent dating of fossil fauna all dating apx. during a bible-inspired flood date that’s been corroborated by other date sources?”
(yada yada yada, verbose me)…
“[Sirius comments: I’m not sure how to answer your question, so I’m emailing the guys at BiblicalGeology.net for their advice. I’ll get back to you, provided, of course, that they get back to me.]”
O-kay. At this point I was getting confused and a bit suspicious: this guy waxes poetic about the earth being young and gives numerous data to ostensibly establish this argument, and yet doesn’t know how to support his version of the date of the planet? (“I’m not sure how to answer your question” is definitely not how I could describe why I believe the earth is billions of years old!)
But okay, a little humility. I’m no geologist and even though I’ve dabbled a bit in geochronology for fun reading, I’m continents away from being an expert in the field (all the primers in biology included a chapter or two about dating methods).
So, after some back-and-forth Q&A’s, I reached this particular gem:
“My reasons for embracing the Young earth Creation position stem from the fact that I believe their is reasonable evidence to believe that a personal, transcendent God exists, that Jesus Christ rose bodily from the dead and that I can believe the Bible in regards to what it says about the human condition, history and prophecy”
Boy, oh boy. That said, I just had to ask why bother throwing scientific data to disprove evolutionary biology or more pertinently, mainstream geology, if all it takes to believe in a young earth is absolute biblical literalism. It stinks of dishonesty and preying upon the gullible to give the air of scientific credibility to a belief that rests solely upon religious texts. Sure, scientific data can be shoehorned into biblical literalism, but if biblical literalism is completely a priori to any discussion of the age of the earth or the meaning of geological data, then invoking scientific evidence to “prove” a young earth is not only dishonest, it’s also pointless. If flood geologists merely assume the bible to be true and accordingly use data they collect to point out to biblical literalism, then saying that the “evidence points to a worldwide flood” is not only dishonest, it’s also sacrilegious: demanding or even endorsing physical data to espouse belief in the bible is abandoning, so it seems, the blind faith that it demands.
Sirius provided me with two links, one was to a blog written down by a flood geologist and another was a creationist web-page. After tediously going over the web-sites, I was again and again in awe at the fact that whenever addressing the age of the earth, time and again the real, physical evidence for the young earth is nothing but the bible, and the mere assumption of the validity of biblical text. The data are all there, they just happen to rest completely on presupposing the bible to be true and thus, by definition, can only lead to verifying the bible. I must say that this pointless dissonance was so bizarre that I physically felt dizzy while reading it.
The thing I found striking the most is that part of “creationontheweb” that spoke of absolute dating by radioisotopes being a subjective presupposition and that the only difference between mainstream geologists and flood geologist is their subjective presuppositions. Apparently, biblical geology professes that it’s okay to presume your conclusion, and assuming the bible is literally true is somehow better than not. No mention of what assumptions absolute radiometric dating uses. There are quite a few, and scientists have masochistically tried to refute them for centuries and have mind-bogglingly corroborated data in endless research. Considering the last sentence, I find it pressing to ask: “how sure do you need to get before you buy into this thing?”.
I wonder if “non-expert creationists” as opposed to “non-expert evolutionists” like me become frightened or disturbed when they try to do the opposite to what I did, that is, look for evidence for an old earth. I can’t help but feeling that being afraid to learn something new is the worst affliction a mind can have.
Oh, and P.S – even the flood geologist that Sirius linked to admitted that there’s no analytical approach that consistently points to nothing but young dates for rocks. Flood geologists either use the same dating methods as mainstream geologists or, most often, they simply assume the bible is true and don’t bother dating rocks at all, since the “biblical geological column” is based on analyzing the bible, not the earth.