young earth creationism

how 'bout those Chinese people, eh?

I was recently watching the 2008 Olympics and one of the commentators stated that the Chinese people have a 5,000-year written, documented history. If that's the case and is empirically true, where do the YEC's say the Chinese came from if the earth is only 6,000 years old?
Atheist Answer: 

If you really try, the two timelines juuuuuuuust about fit together. I mean really try.

The link is the downfall of the Tower of Babel, where (supposedly) human language diversified and the different peoples went their separate ways. The Biblical timeline accepted by YECs puts this incident at about 2700 BC, or about 4700 years ago. By sheer coincidence, that's just when early Chinese written language came about. That announcer rounded up a bit when he said 5000 years.

You can therefore imagine a scenario where the Chinese-speaking Babelites trekked straight from the ruined Tower to Asia over a few months or years and set up shop there. It's a near thing, but it kind of works.

Ancient Chinese history is therefore not the history to pick when you're trying to contradict the Bible. Happily, you're spoilt for alternatives. Writing itself came about in the 4th millennium BC (4000-3000 BC), and plenty of civilisations around the world were doing it. Even in the 5th millennium BC, supposedly before Creation, there were lots of symbols being carved into stones. Before that, it's all strictly archaeological evidence.

Happy digging.

- SmartLX

Best Evidence For and Against A Young Earth?

I was recently asked the following on a creationist blog I was invited to read. >>> Healyhatman if there had been a world-wide flood what evidence would you expect to see? What is your best-specific- piece of evidence against a young earth? <<< I made a huge list of the things I thought I would expect to see and added radio-isotope dating / stars more than 6k light years away as answers for the second part. But what are the big pieces of evidence one would expect for a global flood, and what is the single best piece of evidence against a young earth? Which piece of evidence "rules them all" ? Also, why aren't line breaks working?
Atheist Answer: 

Line breaks aren't working for you because the formatting in the answers isn't implemented for the question field (hint hint, powers that be).

As usual I'm going to be very general here because I am not a scientist, but I will try to include key points you can google later.

The number one method young-Earth creationists use to make a young earth plausible in light of geological and paleontological realities is to exploit the most catastrophic world-changing event in the Bible set chronologically between Creation and Armageddon: Noah's flood. This is the raison d'etre of so-called flood geology.

The flood, they claim, carved out the Grand Canyon, wiped out all of the animals we only see today as fossils, and laid down all the strata in quick succession as sediment.
To put it mildly, there are a multitude of potential problems with this.

One is the rigid position of all animals worldwide in the strata. In the chaos of a planet overwhelmed by rushing water, why are all specimens in a given extinct species (say, trilobites) found in the same layer instead of all over the place?

There's one clever explanation that simple animals were drowned first, followed by successively more advanced animals who could fly or were more agile. So the higher they are the longer they held on, and the more evolved they "appear". However you'd expect millions of exceptions to this, for example a small reptile holding onto a floating log. There are many claims of objects found out of sequence, like petrified trees penetrating many strata, but no proven anomalies yet.

Radiocarbon dating is the most straightforward method of disproving the young earth. Using basic laws of nuclear physics, it regularly establishes the age of objects as tens of thousands to millions of years old. Even one such object would prove the earth to be least that old, but this happens all the dang time.

Therefore, of course, there's a huge effort by creationists to discredit radiocarbon dating completely and utterly. There are large margins of error sometimes, but when you're only trying to make sure something is older than six millennia, an error of millions of years out of greater millions hardly matters.

What many don't know is that there are many different forms of dating, based in principle on the initial carbon method but using other particles. Some of these have indeed been found unreliable and are no longer in use (and are publicised by some creationists to represent the whole field as a failure) but this does not reflect upon the methods still used.

Similar to this geological argument between young-earth creationists and everybody else is the astronomical argument. There are objects greater than 6000 light years away, such that if the universe were that young, light from them wouldn't have reached us yet.

One creationist has developed a bigger cousin to flood geology, namely white hole cosmology. WHC assigns different time speeds to different areas, so that six thousand years here is billions of years at the edge of the universe. Besides WHC, there are other ideas involving light moving faster than the speed of light itself. Needless to say, these ideas as applied in this way are without support in mainstream science.

The first thing I'd throw at them in your situation, Healy, is those distant objects in space. White hole cosmology isn't nearly as well-rehearsed as flood geology, and the responses tend to sound really cool in a sci-fi B-movie sort of way. It might be fun. Either that, or they might concede an old universe and concentrate on a young Earth, which is not a very stable position.

- SmartLX

What do athiest believe about the origins of our universe and life on our planet?

What do athiest believe about the origins of our universe and life on our planet? Athiest use "Common Sense" to establish what you believe or dont believe in. Our scientific theory on the formation of the entire universe lacks all common sense. "About 15 billion years ago a tremendous explosion started the expansion of the universe. This explosion is known as the Big Bang. At the point of this event all of the matter and energy of space was contained at one point. What exisisted prior to this event is completely unknown and is a matter of pure speculation." Let me disect this statement. About 15 BILLION years...ok, give or take acouple HUNDRED MILLION. Some sources say 12, some 14. We only have about 8,000 years of recorded history. A billion years is alot to be "off." Can we be a TAD more accurate? A tremedous explosion: Have you EVER seen an explosion CREATE anything? If I blow up a car, I dont get a hundred tiny little motorcycles.... "All the matter in the universe was containted in one point"....a single point? Like a "only a few millimeters across" I think common sense and reason would argue that this is pure stupidity. "Prior to this event" Well if there was no "time" there was no "prior" I think common sense would say there was no event. "Pure Speculation" Yup, I agree there. All there is, is pure speculation. did it happen according to an athiest?
Atheist Answer: 

Let's go through this very carefully.

- We have about 8,000 years of recorded human history. Humans are the only creatures who have ever deliberately recorded it. All time before that is referred to as PREhistory for a reason; the universe pre-dates recorded history. By about 15 billion years.

- The Big Bang was a sudden expansion of matter. It did not create any heat, because all heat was contained within it; it merely dispersed heat like it did matter. It did not necessarily create anything, since nothing stops the matter from having existed before the Bang. It did not destroy anything either, because there was probably nothing outside the Bang that it could destroy. Comparing the Big Bang to an explosive detonation is a gross oversimplification.

- Present-day black holes do contain vast amounts of matter compressed to a single point, or singularity. It happens when the gravity of an object is great enough to overcome the magnetic fields keeping the atoms apart. Current physics do allow for this.

- Even if time as we know it resulted from the Big Bang, it's not necessarily all the time there's ever been. What if another system of time and space existed, and the Big Bang spawned from this? Perhaps another universe?

An atheist doesn't know how the heck the Big Bang happened, because we haven't found enough evidence to make any theory remotely certain. I'm comfortable with that. If I adopted one hypothesis as the truth now, I'd have to fault every other theory out there without any support at all.

Finally, don't take offence but to assert beyond doubt that a God is responsible for something merely because of the absence of known alternatives is the very model of an argument from ignorance.

I won't cover abiogenesis (the origin of life) here, because neither has MrPeters.

- SmartLX

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